This an sjlib test alert. This is only an sjlib test alert


Freedom to Read

The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label “controversial” views, to distribute lists of “objectionable” books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.

Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be “protected” against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.


These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.


Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it less able to deal with controversy and difference.


Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.


We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.


The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights. We therefore affirm these propositions:


  1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority. Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.
  2. Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.
  3. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author. No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.
  4. There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.
  5. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.
  6. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people’s freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information. It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self-censorship.
  7. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a “bad” book is a good one, the answer to a “bad” idea is a good one. The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader’s purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.

We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.

Adopted June 25, 1953 by the ALA Council; Revised January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004

Rules of Conduct

RULES OF CONDUCT                                               

Policy 5.0

Use of the Building and Grounds


An integral part of the mission of the San Juan Island Library District is to ensure that the Library provides an environment which encourages lifelong learning for all ages. To this end, the Library has established rules of conduct that promote a safe, healthy and barrier-free environment. Library staff will make every effort to apply these rules in a fair, equitable and positive manner for the benefit of all.


  • Smoking and/or vaping (using any kind of electronic smoking device, e-liquids, or unregulated nicotine delivery product) inside, outside, or anywhere on library property including vehicles. 
  • Consuming food, except by authorized groups in designated meeting rooms or areas (nonalcoholic beverages are permitted in closed containers).
  • Cell phone use.
  • Bringing in bicycles. Skateboards, in-line skates, etc. must be carried at all times.
  • Sexual misconduct, such as exposure, offensive touching or sexual harassment of other patrons or staff.
  • Bringing in animals other than guide dogs and other assistive animals except as authorized by the Library Director.
  • Disruptive or unsafe behavior such as loud talking, loud audio equipment, screaming, running, throwing things, pushing and shoving, which may result in disturbing other patrons or damaging Library property.
  • Engaging in any activity prohibited by law or any other conduct that unreasonably interferes with others’ use of the Library including physical or verbal harassment or threats to other patrons or staff, begging, or soliciting.
  • Sleeping or camping.
  • Parking overnight or longer than posted limits. Director is authorized to develop guidelines for parking limits. Vehicles that are parked overnight may be towed without notice.
  • Parking by anyone other than Library staff and patrons currently using library facilities. Unauthorized vehicles may be towed without notice after 24 hours.
  • Vehicles idling in the parking lot from which exhaust fumes enter library doors, windows, or intake systems.

Except in instances where immediate action is deemed appropriate by the Library Director or designee, individuals violating these rules may be first asked to stop such actions before further action by Library staff (up to and including expulsion or exclusion) is taken to address the violation. The Library reserves the right to require anyone violating these rules of conduct to leave the Library. The Library may also withdraw permission for a person to re-enter its facilities if the person continues a pattern of violating these rules (see RCW 27.12.290).

Policy Section 5: Use of Building

Date Adopted: July 19, 1995

Date Implemented: July 19, 1995

Date Amended: May 9, 2006

Date Amended: September 16, 2008

Date Amended: April 12, 2016

Date Amended: September 13, 2016

Date Amended: August 8, 2017

Date Amended: December 10, 2019

Date Amended: March 10, 2020

Date Amended: July 12, 2022

Internet Access Policy


Policy 3.2.0



Throughout its history the San Juan Island Library District has made information available in a variety of formats, from print to audiovisual materials. The Library’s computer system provides the opportunity to integrate electronic resources from information networks around the world with the Library’s other resources. 


The Internet, as an information resource, enables the Library to provide information beyond the confines of its own collection. It allows access to ideas, information and commentary from around the globe. Currently, however, it is an unregulated medium. Unlike San Juan Island Library, where items in the collection have been carefully evaluated, the Internet has no system for ensuring that what is found is accurate, current or complete. Internet resources are not subject to the same selection criteria which the Library uses for other materials. While it offers access to a wealth of material that is personally, professionally, and culturally enriching to individuals of all ages, it also enables access to some material that may be offensive, disturbing and/or illegal. 


The Library upholds and affirms the right and responsibility of parents to determine and monitor their children’s use of all Library materials and resources. Library users are the final selectors in using the Internet and are responsible for their individual choices and decisions. That said, it is the policy of the San Juan Island Library to: (a) prevent user access over its computer network to, or transmission of, inappropriate material via Internet, electronic mail, or other forms of direct electronic communications; (b) prevent unauthorized access and other unlawful online activity; (c) prevent unauthorized online disclosure, use, or dissemination of personal identification information of minors; and (d) comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act [Pub. L. No. 106-554 and 47 USC 254(h)]. Legal definitions relating to the Act are found in section 3.2.8 of this manual. It is the responsibility of parents to monitor their children’s use of Internet access. 


In order to ensure that the use of this medium is consistent with the Mission of the Library, the following rules and procedures will apply: 

  1. Due to limited staff availability, the Library reserves the right to require that all prospective users have a basic understanding of Internet use as a condition for access to the Library’s Internet stations. 
  2. Parents are encouraged to work closely with their children in selecting material that is consistent with personal and family values and boundaries. 
  3. Internet usage is limited to posted time limits regardless of current Internet performance, which lies beyond the control of the Library. 
  4. Since space is limited and noise from group conversations is disruptive to others, there is a limit of two library patrons per computer station. 
  5. Patron files may not be stored on library computers. Patrons wishing to download files may purchase a storage media device at the Reference Desk. The Library assumes no responsibility for damage caused by viruses downloaded from the Internet on library property. 
  6. Printing charges are 10¢ per page, payable at the checkout desk. 



Internet use will be managed in a manner consistent with the Library’s Rules of Conduct which have been adopted and are posted in the Library. Failure to use the Internet station appropriately and responsibly may result in revocation of Internet use privileges. Users may not:  

  • Use the workstations to gain unauthorized access to the Library network or computer systems or to any other network or computer system.  
  • Make an attempt to damage or alter computer equipment or software.
  • Violate copyright laws or software licensing agreements.  
  • Engage in any activity which is disruptive to other Library users.  
  • Violate federal, state or local laws or regulations. 



Patrons found to be in violation of any of the above regulations will be advised of the policy, and receive verbal warning from a staff member of the obligation to observe existing Internet policies and procedures. A second such violation will result in the loss of Internet privileges, for a term to be determined by the Library Director. 


Definitions relating to the Children’s Internet Protection Act 

TECHNOLOGY PROTECTION MEASURE. The term “technology protection measure” means a specific technology that blocks or filters Internet access to visual depictions that are: 

  1. OBSCENE, as that term is defined in section 1460 of title 18, United States Code; 
  2. CHILD PORNOGRAPHY, as that term is defined in section 2256 of title 18, United States Code; or 
  3. HARMFUL TO MINORS, meaning any picture, image, graphic image file, or other visual depiction that: 
  1. Taken as a whole and with respect to minors, appeals to a prurient interest in nudity, sex, or excretion; 
  2. Depicts, describes, or represents, in a patently offensive way with respect to what is suitable for minors, an actual or simulated sexual act or sexual contact, actual or simulated normal or perverted sexual acts, or a lewd exhibition of the genitals; and 
  3. Taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value as to minors. 
  4. SEXUAL ACT; SEXUAL CONTACT. The terms “sexual act” and “sexual contact” have the meanings given such terms in section 2246 of title 18, United States Code.


Policy Section 3.2: Internet Access

Date Adopted: July 19, 1995

Date Implemented: July 19, 1995

Date Amended: May 12, 1998

Date Amended: July 11, 2000

Date Amended: January 14, 2003

Date Amended: April 13, 2004

Date Amended: May 9, 2006

Date Amended: September 16, 2008