Universal Declaration of Library Rights (2013)

Universal declaration of library rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948 at Palais de Chaillot, Paris. It was a direct response to the decimation of Europe during WWII and consists of 30 articles. To celebrate the anniversary of this seminal document we’ve adapted the principles and applied them to libraries…

Article 1.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards public institutions lending books in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any reading prejudice, such as genre, format, author, or reading on a Kindle.

Article 3.
Everyone has the right to lend, loan and liberty.

Article 4.
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude for returning books late.

Article 5.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment for reading Dan Brown.

Article 6.
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the library as long as they form an orderly queue at the main desk.

Article 7.
All are equal before the library and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the library. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8.
Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating literary taste.

Article 9.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile for only loaning out audio books.

Article 10.
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal if they feel that a book with a complex narrative structure has been categorised into an inappropriate genre.

Article 11.
Everyone charged with a lending offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

Article 12.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation for using a mobile phone in a library.

Article 13.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the sections and floors of each library.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any library, including his own, and to return to his home.

Article 14.
(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in literature asylum from persecution.
(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-reading crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the Libraries and Museums Act 1964.

Article 15.
(1) Everyone has the right to a large print book.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his large print book nor denied the right to change his large print book.

library cloud2Article 16.
(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to lend up to eight books at a time.
(2) Books shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending readers.
(3) The library is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17.
(1) Everyone has the right to own books alone as well as in association with others as long as they are not purchased from Amazon or Tescos.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his books even if they have ‘celebrity’ in the title.

Article 18.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought; this right includes the freedom to complain when comics are referred to as graphic novels.

Article 19.
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions about the latest celebrity autobiography without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to keep warm in a library because they can’t afford to put the heating on at home.
(2) No one may be compelled to belong to a book group.

Article 21.
Everyone has the right to take part in the online book forums of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

Article 22.
Everyone, as a member of a library, has the right to loan free books and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each council, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23.
(1) Everyone has the right to work as a librarian, to look after and update electronic resources, to a coffee break with one digestive biscuit and to keep the library organised and tidy.
(2) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection. E.g. You can’t sack librarians and then get job seekers to do the job for free. This is known as the Cleggeron Act
(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join the Union of Library Workers for the protection of his interests.

Article 24.
Every librarian, whether full or part-time, has the right to chase and collect books back and enforce fines.

Article 25.
(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including a worn-out jumper, corduroy trousers and nice shiny DMs purchased in the eighties.
(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance and unlimited readings of the Hungry Caterpillar.

Article 26.
Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of books that shall be given to their children. They have the right to refuse to read their children stories about bespectacled magicians.

Article 27.
Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community and to enjoy author readings that cost no more than £2 a pop.

Article 28.
Every reader is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29.
(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
(2) Everyone must therefore use their local library at least once a year to exercise their communal duties.
(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the library.

Article 30.
Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any poorly-run, fiscal-cliff falling, democratically-challenged council to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.


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