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Intellectual Freedom at OPL

Mar 26, 2024

OPL has updated several administrative policies related to intellectual freedom, effective today, to align with the OPL Board Intellectual Freedom Position Statement approved in June 2022.

Key changes at the Library include:

  • Affirming that upholding intellectual freedom at the public library is done via print and digital collections, programs, displays, meeting room rentals, and access to the Internet, and that clients may challenge any of OPL’s services;
  • Providing unrestricted access to the Internet by removing filtering software that restricts legal content that some consider offensive or explicit;
  • Changes to the application process and terms and conditions for meeting room rentals;
  • A new online application process for display spaces (art exhibits);
  • Changes to the use of notice boards;
  • Integration of community newspapers into the OPL collection; and,
  • New signage in branches about meeting rooms, display spaces, and where you can take photos or videos.

You can find links to all the updated policies on the Intellectual Freedom Position Statement web page, as well as on the Library Policies, Frameworks, and Statements page.

In making these changes, OPL is strengthening its commitment to intellectual freedom: “the free and open exchange of lawful information and ideas in a democratic society, respecting individual’s rights to privacy and choice.” Upholding intellectual freedom is principled. It doesn’t end with reading: it is reinforced by thoughtful conversation, debate, and discussion. Intellectual freedom is embedded not only in discussions about library collections, but also about programs, displays, meeting room rental, and access to the Internet.

OPL welcomes transparent discussions about intellectual freedom and opportunities to address concerns in a way that is consistent with the OPL vision, mission, and values. Ottawa residents are welcome to provide feedback on OPL’s Intellectual Freedom Position Statement, and changes to OPL policies and practices. They may speak with employees, contact InfoService at 613-580-2940, and/or complete the online Request for Reconsideration Form for specific concerns about OPL content.

Intellectual freedom is the cornerstone of a democratic society, and at OPL, we are dedicated to upholding this principle in all library services.