The end of history: censorship and libraries
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Libraries have vital roles in society in protecting heritage, offering individuals and societies opportunities to improve the quality of their lives, and contributing to civil society. They play an important role is the free exchange of ideas within societies and across time and space. Libraries can be damaged through war, looting and neglect. But more pervasive is the great variety of methods of information control of censorship which are given many justifications including decency, community well-being, privacy and national security. However, such views are contingent as can be illustrated by considering changing attitudes to pornography. Librarians face personal dilemmas which contend with professional responsibilities to meet the needs of users and to promote the widest possible access to information. Any librarians who might wish to uphold principles of unrestricted access to information must either accept the boundaries or struggle against them.
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