Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ethical Principles (for Management)

1. As the community library, we treat each patron with the same respect and committment to high service.
-This means that each patron's request is just as important as every other; do not show partiality.
-Show respect and helpfulness even to patrons who are difficult to get along with.
-Children are patrons, too, and should have their information needs treated with the same respect as adults.

2. Be honest.
-This seems self-explanatory, but is important to remember, and includes some of the situations below.
-Do not use library supplies for personal reasons.
-If you can not help a patron, explain why and seek another solution rather than trying to hide a difficulty.
-Give reasonable estimates on when broken machinery will be fixed.
-Seek help when needed.
-If you encounter a dilemma, consider which option will allow you to uphold the highest standard of honesty.

3. Keep patron records confidential.
-This directly supports ALA Code of Ethics, Article III. Maintaining confidentiality is becoming increasingly important in a society in which the Internet makes confidentiality less certain.
-Confidentiality can not always be extended to children under 18, but parents and guardians must have a reason for requesting information and be able to show their identification.

4. Show support for the library's mission and policies.
-When asked for an opinion on a policy change by a member of the public, give a neutral answer.
-Report concerns and complaints through proper employee channels, not to patrons.
-Maintain an understanding of current library policy and apply it to your work life.

5. Give patrons and staff the benefit of the doubt.
-Realize that everyone has a bad day and that you may also need the benefit of the doubt sometime.
-Help your co-workers when you can.
-Recognize when exceptions should and should not be applied.

The last principle was an actual part of the code of ethics at one of my jobs, and I really liked this. It reminds us that we are all humans and need a break sometimes, and, I think, led to a smoother and happier work environment. It also made "problem patrons" easier to shake off!

No comments: