Code of ethics draft – Access

> zluc2014 > Code of ethics draft - Access

Hi, all! Below is my rough, rough draft of the Code of Ethics section on access. Obviously it would benefit from massive input from all of you. :)  I kept it short and simple on purpose.


Zine Librarians Code of Ethics Draft: ACCESS

This Code recognizes that:

  • As librarians and archivists, we have a responsibility to respect the professional and ethical traditions of reasonable and equitable access to materials.
  • As cultural advocates who strive to positively and respectfully engage with the creative communities we document, we also have a responsibility to consider the personal and privacy considerations of zine creators.

Given the potential for tension between these two responsibilities, zine librarians and archivists should consider these guiding principles with respect to access to materials in their care.


Zines are often the creations of people documenting their deepest, most heartfelt personal, political, sexual and/or social convictions. Zine creators so often pour so much of themselves into their work, work that is often intended only for specific or limited audiences. These expressions of pure identity merit appropriate respect. Zine librarians and archivists are therefore sensitive and aware of the specific environments under which zines are created and distributed. They consult with zine creators and communities on the motives behind the zines they produce, and respect the personal desires for autonomy and privacy of those creators and communities. They do not expose the legal identities of zine creators in cases where those identities are not explicitly noted in the zines themselves.




Zine librarians and archivists do not recognize a mythical “neutrality”. However, they are impartial insomuch as they do NOT deny access to materials in their care based on their own personal, political or other beliefs. To do so is to exercise an act of censorship that violates a reader’s rights to determine her own reading choices. The ethic of impartiality also applies to any access restrictions that may be placed on particular items – such restrictions should not be selectively levied but should be implemented in an impartial and uniform manner.




Zine librarians and archivists recognize that, fundamentally, materials unused are useless materials. They therefore strive towards the highest practical degree of open and equitable access to the zines in their care within the context of their institutional missions and their user groups.  They interact with zine creators and donors to provide an appropriate balance between this level of access and the desires of zine creators for privacy or anonymity.




10 thoughts on “Code of ethics draft – Access

  1. This section of the code uses “they” for zine librarians and archivists, where the preamble uses “we.” I like the latter better.

  2. I like the impartiality/neutrality part. I wonder about referring to “the reader” as “she.” Should we consider using “they” in any such instance, throughout the code?

    • We can. That can be up to the group. I used “she” mainly because something hits my ear wrong in using a nonspecific “they”, and I don’t like “he/she”. It’s a stylistic choice, and whatever the group decides is fine.

  3. I wonder if this section should get into open vs. closed stacks, explaining a little about different collections having different purposes? Or is that covered in the Use section? Where does preservation go?

    • Good questions! If the group wants, I can add language about open vs. closed stacks to make this point about considering the institutional mission a little clearer. As for preservation, hmmm..maybe that deserves its own section?

  4. Notes from ZL(u)C: I’ll work on tweaking this section and adding preservation. Also consider accessibility for people with disabilities.

    • Oh, good points on the disabilities aspect, Jenna. I’ll add some language to that effect.

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