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Mary Puhr - Professional Development Coordinator 
Mid-America Library Alliance 

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Navigating Ethical Practices in Your Library Webcast 

This is a 30 minute pre-recorded webcast. With our online anytime format, you will immediately receive the link to the webcast, password and the link to the webcast handout upon successful registration. You do not need any special software to view and listen, just a computer!  Since passwords are changed frequently, we suggest viewing the webcast as soon as possible after registering.


Ethics is the study of good and evil, right and wrong. Library ethics help guide the decisions and actions of library staff and leaders, so that everyone is treated fairly and equally and principles such as transparency, privacy and access are respected. Ethics start with how customers are treated at the front desk and basic courtesy among staff members.

Ten Tips:

  • Ensure leaders and managers are following ethical practices.
  • Review and share your state library law.
  • Invite attorneys in to present on public sector ethics and legal issues.
  • Most library ethical violations occur at the front desk; require library ethics staff training every year.
  • Discuss an ethics topic at monthly staff meetings.
  • Ensure library policies reflect a foundation of ethics.
  • Post signs regarding ethics: transparency, privacy, access to information, and equal treatment.
  • Ask a knowledgeable outsider to conduct an ethics audit.
  • Develop a “crisis” plan for how staff should behave when the camera crews show up.
  • Build a good relationship with law enforcement before you are subpoenaed.


  1. Review written library policies and procedures to determine how ethical issues are addressed.
  2. Conduct campaign to educate library users and greater community about library ethical issues.
  3. Request a legal audit to ensure that library is obedience of local, state, and federal laws.
  4. Create code of ethics for all library leaders, managers, employees, and volunteers regarding cronyism, nepotism, conflict of interests, etc.
  5. Invite experts to address library staff on ethical practices.


Pat Wagner has been a trainer, educator, and consultant for 40 years, having worked with clients in 48 states and Canada. She is a manager and producer at Pattern Research, Inc. Pat likes to find the essence in models of human behavior and organizational design and build effective and engaging formats for learning: face-to-face, in print, and online. She has been a poet, playwright, printer, publisher, and graphic designer, and loves books, gardens, and the arts.


Each registration entitles the registrant only to access the webcast. Registrations may not be shared in any way or viewed in a group setting. You may not broadcast or redistribute in any way without prior approval from Mid-America Library Alliance. That includes, but is not limited to, displaying webcast via projector, large screen tv, or overhead projector.

  • MALA Member: $15.00
  • Non-Member: $30.00

MALA Webcast Billing/Refund/Credit Policy:  We prefer all webcasts to be prepaid.  If you prefer to be billed, there is a $5 charge for this service.