ETHICS AND PHILIPPINE LIBRARIANSHIP
Vyva Victoria M. Aguirre
De La Salle University Manila Email address: vy[email protected] Abstract
In general, “Ethics” is “the branch of philosophy dealing with right and wrong and the morality of motives and ends.” In a more particular sense, ethical norms govern the practice of professions. While people engaged in business or trade are reigned in by the ethics of market forces and by law, all professions operate under strict codes of conduct drawn up by and for the members of a specific profession. These codes of conduct go beyond the layman’s understanding of what is “ethical” because the norms address some specific or fundamental end with respect to the professional’s behavior when dealing with each other and with the public.
Librarianship, one of the professions regulated by the Professional Regulation Commission, follows a Code of Ethics for Philippine Librarianship. This Code enumerates the “do’s” and “don’ts” pertinent to a librarian’s conduct towards society and the profession.
This paper will not discuss the Code of Philippine Librarianship in detail, since every librarian is expected to know this by heart. Instead, it will first deal with information ethics and the librarian’s responsibility in the areas of access to information, intellectual freedom, and intellectual honesty. Secondly, it will deal with the ethical issues that can arise from the librarian’s multiple loyalties to self, clients, and patrons, as well as the employing institutions. Thirdly, it will discuss some problematic ethical situations that librarians face in the work place: in the area of human resources management, conflicting interests, and institutional policies that affect the librarian’s view of his or her mission as information provider.
Finally, an attempt will be made to assess whether the Code of Ethics for Philippine Librarianship sufficiently addresses the issues raised, or whether there is a need to revise the Code to make it more attuned to the complexities of the post-modern world. Keywords: ethics; librarians; Code of Ethics for Philippine Librarianship