Attitudes of UK Librarians and Librarianship Students to Ethical Issues


  • Kevin Ball
  • Charles Oppenheim



There have been a number of studies examining the attitudes of librarians to ethical dilemmas, but few examining them in comparison with Library and Information Science students as we did in our study. According to that UK librarians and students in general hold surprisingly similar ethical attitudes. We expected the students to be more liberal, more willing to uphold idealistic principles, and given their student status, with attitudes balanced in favour of other students' and patrons' rights in terms of fees, and accessibility, and copyright law. On the contrary, in many areas such as Internet filtering, looking at online erotic images, and removing books at the request of patrons, we found practitioners more liberal than the students. A reason for that might be that the students are keen to emulate what they perceive to be a conservative and mature outlook, i.e., a stance of responsibility, as a pressing concern for ILS students is likely to be the establishment of a career. Though there is a fair level of teaching ethical issues it seems to lead into a mediocre level of student awareness of basic issues or of the CILIP Code which is meant as a 'framework' to help information professionals 'manage the responsibilities and sensitivities which figure prominently in their work' (CILIP 2003).




How to Cite

Ball, Kevin, and Charles Oppenheim. 2005. “Attitudes of UK Librarians and Librarianship Students to Ethical Issues”. The International Review of Information Ethics 3 (June). Edmonton, Canada:54-61.