Libraries and Intellectual Freedom for Student Workers: Intellectual Freedom

A training module for PCC library work study students

PCC Library student worker intellectual freedom training

Thank you for joining the PCC Library team.  We hope that you find the library a wonderful place to work.

Libraries are more than places for free books and printing.  From the early days of our country's history, libraries have played a key role in sustaining our democracy.  The democratic values at the heart of libraries are known as Intellectual Freedom.  This training module will help you to understand these values, and your role in supporting them as a library worker.  Please work through all of the tabs on this guide, including watching the videos and taking the short quizzes.

Privacy and confidentiality
Challenges to library collections
Challenges to online viewing (i.e. pornography)
Final quiz and questions


What is intellectual freedom?

From the American Library Association:

What Is Intellectual Freedom?

Intellectual freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored.

Why Is Intellectual Freedom Important?

Intellectual freedom is the basis for our democratic system. We expect our people to be self-governors. But to do so responsibly, our citizenry must be well-informed. Libraries provide the ideas and information, in a variety of formats, to allow people to inform themselves.

Intellectual freedom encompasses the freedom to hold, receive and disseminate ideas.

Freedom to think for yourself

Watch this two minute video by acclaimed historian David McCullough about intellectual freedom, or the freedom to think for yourself, a fundamental American value that is sustained by libraries.