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Intellectual Freedom and the CU Libraries

A training tool for CU Libraries student workers. Adapted from Portland Community College's guide under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

CU Libraries student worker intellectual freedom training

Thank you for joining the CU Libraries team!  We hope the skills you learn on the job will benefit you and that you enjoy your time here.

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 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 quiz.

What is intellectual freedom?

From the American Library Association:

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.


This guide is based on Roberta Richards' Portland Community College training:, which bears a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. 

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.