Public Library Trustee
Ethics Statement
Official Statement from United for Libraries


Public library Trustees are accountable for the resources of the library as well as to see that the library provides the best possible service to its community.

Every Trustee makes a personal commitment to contribute the time and energy to faithfully carry out his/her duties and responsibilities effectively and with absolute truth, honor and integrity.

  • Trustees shall respect the opinions of their colleagues and not be critical or disrespectful when tney dsiagree or oppose a viewpoint different than their own.
  • Trustees shall comply with all the laws, rules and regulations that apply to them and to their library.
  • Trustees, in fulfilling their responsibilities, shall not be swayed by partisan interests, public pressure or fear of criticism.
  • Trustees shall not engage in discrimination of any kind and shall uphold library patrons' rights to privacy in the use of library resources.
  • Trustees must distinguise clearly in their actions and statement between their personal philosophies and attitudes and those of the library, acknowledging and supporting the formal position of the Board even if they disagree.
  • Trustees must respect the confidential nature of library business and not disclose such information to anyone.  Trustees must also be aware of and in compliance with Freedom of Information laws.
  • Trustees must avoid situations in which personal interests might be served or financial benefits gained as a result of their position or access to privileged library information, for either themselves or others.
  • A Trusee shall immediately disqualify him/herself whenever the appearance of or a conflict of interests exists.
  • Trustees shall not use their position to gain unwarranted privileges or advantages for themselves or others from the library or from those who do business with the library.
  • Trustees shall not interfere with the management responsibilities of the director or the supervision of library staff.
  • Trustees shall support the efforts of librarians in resisting censorship or library materials by groups or individuals.


Adopted by the Board of directors of the American Library Trustee Association, July 1985.
Adopted by the Board of Directors of the Public Library Association, July 1985.
Amended by the Board of Directors of the American Library Trustee Association, July 1988.
Approval of the amendment by the Board of Directors of the Public Library Association, January 1989.

Approved by the United for Libraries Board in January 2012 Statement.pdf

The Idaho Attorney General’s office publishes the Idaho Ethics in Government Manual, available online at .  This manual contains information for elected and appointed officials concerning conflicts of interest, nepotism, and other ethical issues.

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Additional Resources

ICfL ABLE course:
Ethics and Public Service