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ethics

As information professionals I think it is very important to have a set of ethical and moral standards that we abide by. I think that these moral and ethical standards should be set at many different levels, the professional, the institutional and the personal. This is the second time at SI that I have encountered the topic in ethics in libraries, and I have felt that the standards set at the professional level are more suggestions for professional conduct, rather than strict declarations of behavior. In scenarios offered I often feel that we are left at the discretion or our institutions or our own moral judgement. Often times when reading case stories I wish that a hard conclusion would be drawn about what to do at the reference desk what a patron does…(insert controversial interaction here). When finished with examples like the ones in Mark Lenker’s article, “Dangerous Questions at the Reference Desk” I wish that I was given a hard conclusion on the difficult scenarios. Case studies like these tend to leave me feeling with little to rely on other than my own intuition and ethical and moral beliefs. Perhaps I lack a true feeling of direction because I do not have an intermediate authority to rely on such as an institution, between my own beliefs and the ALA code of ethics. Unfortunately, I do not think these difficult questions will become easier to answer once I reach the real world and real patrons.

I am looking forward to reading the thoughts of the bloggers in my cohort and to the ideas of my classmates. The ethical and moral questions we are going to run into as library professionals are likely going to be even more difficult and blurry once we are out of school and working professionals. I hope that I can gain clarity from class and discussion to help me better understand where I should be drawing the line between my personal beliefs, the institution’s standards, and ALA’s codes. Especially when the three may be in conflict.