Internet filters in Canadian libraries

Impact on intellectual freedom & social responsibility


  • Kate Schulz



internet filters, Canadian libraries, intellectual freedom, school libraries, public libraries


Internet filters are a method to block access to web content (Lawrence & Fry, 2016). Instantaneously, the word ‘blocks’ causes advocates of intellectual freedom to stand at attention. Intellectual freedom is one of the core values of librarianship which guide the decisions librarians make, as outlined within the American Library Association’s (ALA) Code of Ethics (1939/2008). The ALA’s Library Bill of Rights (1939/2019) states that, “a person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views” (para. IV). More specific to the topic at hand: “the use of Internet filters to block constitutionally protected speech … compromises First Amendment freedoms and the core values of librarianship” (ALA, n.d., para. 1). This paper will investigate and discuss the function of and methodology behind internet filters, with specific attention to their application in Canada. Following a general overview, a discussion follows of what library professionals in public and school libraries should do to uphold and protect intellectual freedom.




How to Cite

Schulz, K. (2020). Internet filters in Canadian libraries: Impact on intellectual freedom & social responsibility. Pathfinder: A Canadian Journal for Information Science Students and Early Career Professionals, 1(2), 36–50.



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