On Loyalty Oaths

Adopted at 1992 Annual Conference

WHEREAS a democracy must preserve freedom of thought and expression if it is to survive; and

WHEREAS librarians have a special responsibility to provide information on all sides of controversial issues, but cannot do so if intellectual conformity becomes a factor affecting their employment or tenure; and

WHEREAS loyalty tests can easily lead to the violation of the constitutional rights of library employees by allowing inquiries into their personal affiliations and beliefs; and

WHEREAS requiring library employees to sign loyalty oaths contributes to an atmosphere of suspicion and fear and places constraints on intellectual freedom by implying that it is hazardous for library employees to hold or express views other than those condoned by the employer; and

WHEREAS loyalty tests and oaths are requirements for librarians in many library systems, thus effectively compelling many potential employees to sign meaningless and ineffective affirmations of allegiance in order to gain employment;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that we the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association, strongly protest conditions of employment predicated on inquiries into library employees' thoughts, reading matter, associates, or membership in organizations. We also strongly protest compulsory affirmations of allegiance as a condition of employment in libraries. We call on libraries not to impose loyalty tests or oaths as conditions of employment.

SRRT Newsletter Issue 105, p. 2