Ethics and the Profession

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this

Ethics and the Profession

As a professional organization convened around the idea of service and the common good, the Texas Library Association seeks to embody the highest standards in professionalism at all levels. To this end, the mission and work of the Association focuses on encouraging, recognizing, and providing services and practices that serve the members of the Association, the libraries and educational institutions of Texas, and all the people libraries serve.

We aim to further the excellence and skills of our members, support the advancement of libraries and library practices, and protect the Intellectual Freedom rights of the people we serve.


Professional Ethics

The Texas Library Association has proudly adopted the Code of Ethics of the American Library Associaiton. We strive to interpret these philosophies broadly and embed them in all areas of our work. Through our association-wide activies and member participation, TLA commits to these core ideals.

From the American Library Association Code of Ethics

  1. We provide the highest level of service to all library users through appropriate and usefully organized resources; equitable service policies; equitable access; and accurate, unbiased, and courteous responses to all requests.
  2. We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.
  3. We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.
  4. We respect intellectual property rights and advocate balance between the interests of information users and rights holders.
  5. We treat co-workers and other colleagues with respect, fairness, and good faith, and advocate conditions of employment that safeguard the rights and welfare of all employees of our institutions.
  6. We do not advance private interests at the expense of library users, colleagues, or our employing institutions.
  7. We distinguish between our personal convictions and professional duties and do not allow our personal beliefs to interfere with fair representation of the aims of our institutions or the provision of access to their information resources.
  8. We strive for excellence in the profession by maintaining and enhancing our own knowledge and skills, by encouraging the professional development of co-workers, and by fostering the aspirations of potential members of the profession.

See all of the documentation on the ALA Code of Ethics.

Adopted by the TLA Council in 2002.

Historical review of TLA of ethics in the profession, see "Professional Ethics and Librarianship."

Back to the top.


Code of Conduct for All Individuals at TLA Events

Texas Library Association is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of event participants in any form.

Be kind to others. Do not insult or put down other attendees. Behave professionally. Remember that harassment and sexist, racist, or exclusionary jokes are not appropriate for Texas Library Association events.

Event participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the event and may be prohibited from attending any future events at the discretion of the event organizers.

Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention. Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

If a participant engages in harassing behavior, the event organizers may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from the conference/event and banning from any conferences/events in the future.

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of event staff immediately.

Event staff will be happy to help participants contact venue security or local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the event. We value your attendance.

We expect participants to follow these rules at all event venues and event-related social events.

Resolution to Prohibit the Open Carry of Firearms at TLA Events

  • WHEREAS, Since its inception, the Texas Library Association (TLA) has embraced and encouraged excellence in all areas of librarianship with its events and venues providing a safe environment to promote and engage in a friendly atmosphere of literacy and life-long learning skills; and
  • WHEREAS, The Texas Library Association is committed to providing a safe environment at all its events to foster open communication among all members; and
  • WHEREAS, The TLA Diversity Vision states that “The Texas Library Association recognizes the value of serving diverse communities and works to promote excellence through inclusiveness in services and programs to our members;” and
  • WHEREAS, One of the stated missions of the Texas Library Association is “To increase attention to intellectual freedom and social responsibility as an action-oriented association;” and  
  • WHEREAS, The open carry of firearms at TLA events and venues further creates an atmosphere of fear and potential intimidation in contradiction to TLA’s  basic mission, vision and goals; now, therefore, be it 
  • RESOLVED, That the Texas Library Association authorizes and directs its events and venue planning committee/s, or designee(s), to post the required signage and/or to provide oral or written communications in accordance with Texas state, county and local law to provide license holders with notice that the open carrying of handguns is prohibited at all TLA events and venues.

"The Code of Conduct for All Individuals at TLA Events" was approved by the Executive Board on July 8, 2014. The Executive Board amended the policy on July 10, 2016 with the addition of the "Resolution to Prevent the Open Carrying of Firearms at TLA Events." On April 17, 2015, the TLA Council authorized the Executive Board to set such policies.

Back to the top.

TLA External Communications Policy


The Texas Library Association is a dynamic organization that aims to promote the educational and economic infrastructure of our communities and state. The Association accomplishes these professional endeavors by the actions of the TLA membership and the TLA staff.

To this end, TLA members, officers, and staff enjoy a variety of communications tools and responsibilities. While all contracts and letters of conveyance must be executed by the Association’s executive director, TLA officers and unit officers may operate within a range of activities.

These activities include the creation, publication, delivery, and promotion of written, oral, broadcast, digital, and social media communications, among others. Some examples of these communications include correspondence, websites, podcasts, webinars, emails, etc.

In all of these communications, members, officers, and TLA staff are required to uphold the highest standards of professionalism and ethical behavior.  Unconstructive behaviors or comments are not permissible and may lead to action on behalf of TLA to end and remove such communication. TLA also reserves the right to disallow individuals from conducting such practices through TLA communication channels.

All parties must abide by federal and state requirements for TLA as a 501(c)3 organization, including IRS regulations prohibiting TLA from endorsing any political candidate. All parties must also abide by other applicable law, such as copyright and defamation laws, as well as the terms of service, terms of use, privacy policies, and other requirements of any communications platforms used, such as social media sites. (Note: The TLA Social Media Policy covers policies and practices for the development and use of social media sites that are created as platforms for any TLA business. Members should also refer to the TLA and Unit Mark Usage Policy governing all uses of TLA and unit trademarks.)

While members of TLA may act as agents (i.e., representatives) of the Association’s interests in multiple forums, in the specific areas of legislative or policy activities, financial matters, communication with the media, and contractual obligations, only the officers and staff of the Association have the authority to represent the Association. For example, a member may serve in the role of an agent of TLA in the course of negotiating with a speaker for a conference program, only the Executive Director may sign the final contract with the speaker.

Units may develop and disseminate a variety of content to their members. However, any content that is intended to reach, or that is intentionally disseminated to, non-TLA members must first be approved by the TLA Office to ensure consistency with TLA’s mission, goals, and standards. Such content must be submitted to the TLA Staff before being finalized and made publicly available.

Approved by the TLA Executive Board on 04/13/2015

Back to the top.


Social Media Policy

Social media is an effective communication tool, and TLA encourages its units and members to take advantage of social media for purposes such as helping to raise awareness about the mission and work of the Association and its units, building a sense of community within the Association, improving the knowledge or skills of librarians and library workers, and providing a virtual means to engage members of the Association.

However, sometimes it can be challenging for members to reconcile their public and private social media activities in terms of their role within TLA activities and units.  This policy provides a framework for effective and ethical engagement in social media activities by TLA members, administrative assistants, consultants, and liaisons in their roles as such.

For the purposes of this document, “social media” means any tool for online publication and commentary, including, but not limited to interactive websites, blogs, wikis, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Goodreads, Flickr, and YouTube.

Statement of Policy

Keep in mind that you are posting as a member or other representative of TLA or your particular unit.  Know and respect your audience at all times, including TLA and its members.

I. Rules

A. Do this

When posting, you must:

  1. Abide by the Terms of Service, Terms of Use, privacy policies, and all other policies and requirements of the service on which you are posting (e.g., FaceBook or Twitter).
  2. Abide by all relevant TLA policies, including the TLA External Communications Policy and the TLA and Unit Mark Usage Policy. Members of award committees must abide by the rules of those committees regarding public communications generally.
  3. Be clear that any views expressed are yours alone and do not represent the official views of TLA.
  4. Post only content that you have the rights to post and that does not infringe the rights of anyone else, including but not limited to copyrights or other intellectual property rights.

a)   This means that if you post content created by someone else, you must have permission from the rights owner to post that content.

5. If you post content other than your own (with permission), credit the author and/or rights own appropriately.

6. Use your real name, and, as appropriate for the context, identify what capacity you serve in TLA or your unit.

A unit chair is the ultimate spokesperson for the unit. Therefore, unit members must comply if the chair asks that members limit their social media discussions about unit business.  Chairs should remind unit members of this at the start of each conference year.

B. Don’t do this

As noted above, when you post on TLA social media tools, you are representing the voice of the Association.  Certain types of comments that may be appropriate for posting with your personal social media tools are not appropriate for posting via TLA social media. The following rules should not be construed as an attempt to limit your speech on your own personal social media accounts.

You may not post content that:

  1. Contains personally identifying information about any individual, such as name, contact information, or details of their personal life, without their permission; or photos of someone else without their permission.
  2. Criticizes in any way other than constructively a TLA unit, member, partner, or sponsor, or TLA itself, or the work of any of these.
  3. Without prior permission of the Executive Director, makes any comment other than neutral comments about any sponsor, partner, or vendor/exhibitor of TLA. This includes but is not limited to endorsements, comparisons, product reviews, complaints, and criticisms.
  4. Contains confidential details of any individual’s or organization’s engagement with the Association.
  5. Contains any information about award committee activities prior, during or after closed award committee meetings, discussions, or votes.
  6. Constitutes hate speech or defamation, is personally insulting, is threatening, infringes someone else’s privacy, or is in any other way inappropriate for or harmful to the purpose of TLA generally or any of its units.
  7. Serves to bully, intimidate, or harass any person or otherwise treat any person in an intentionally demeaning or hurtful manner.
  8. Calls for a boycott of a product or company.
  9. Endorses or opposes any federal, state, or local candidate running for political office.
  10. Is posted anonymously or using pseudonyms or false screen names.

II. Best Practices

  1. Use specific tags when posting TLA/unit content (e.g. #txla) to help ensure your message reaches its targeted audience.
  2. Post regularly and respond to comments and replies from others quickly and accurately.
  3. Protect your privacy by taking simple steps such as avoiding posting personal details, like phone numbers, and making use of privacy settings on social media sites, etc.
  4. Avoid arguments and debates.
  5. Limit your posts to sharing information about the work of or news about your unit and announcements from the unit.
  6. Strive to make sure it is accurate and professional.
  7. Before posting, ask yourself if the post will improve knowledge or skills of TLA members, contributes directly or indirectly to the improvement of TLA, builds a sense of community, or helps to promote TLA’s mission.  If the answer is yes, post the content.  If it’s no, then don’t post it.
  8. Write about what you know (always verify any facts, dates, etc. before posting anything.)
  9. What you publish will be around for a long time, so consider the content carefully.
  10. When possible, link to others’ work rather than reproducing it.
  11. Bring out your own personality and share your thoughts in a respectful and professional tone

III. Questions and Final Authority

The TLA Executive Board has final decision-making authority over the use of social media on behalf of TLA and its units.

TLA reserves the right to remove or make efforts to remove any posting that it believes conflicts with the terms of this Policy.

If a member is unsure whether or not something is appropriate to post on social media, he or she should contact the unit chair before posting. A chair who is unsure about policy compliance or has other questions about the use of social media for TLA purposes should contact his or her TLA Executive Board Liaison.

If a member, for whatever reason, takes an action that conflicts with this policy, he or she will be contacted to resolve the situation and may be asked to withdraw, correct, or revise postings. If the post is determined to be egregious, or intentionally hurtful, the individual may be asked to resign from his or her position.

Approved by the TLA Executive Board on 04/13/2015
Back to the top.


Social Media Guidelines

The use of social media platforms to support the work of the Texas Library Association is governed by both the TLA External Communications Policy and the TLA Social Media Policy. The document is a guide for best practices for using creating and using social media to conduct TLA business and applies to all TLA SM forums including those created by members as official forums for TLA units and committees.

Definition: Social media can be defined as any web-based application, site, software, or account created and maintained by TLA staff and committees that facilitate an environment for to engage and discuss current events, items of interest, or TLA related subjects/issues. Some examples of social media outlets are: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, YouTube, Tumblr, Flickr, Pinterest, etc.     

Purpose: The use of social media for TLA activities is intended to supplement the means of communication currently in place for press, news, events, and announcements.


TLA actively participates in social media to:

  • Reach out and engage members, patrons, readers, educators, publishers, etc.
  • Cultivate an open, professional, and responsive dialog with our users.
  • Communicate to association members and conduct business.
  • Showcase TLA events and happenings.
  • Promote research tips and useful tools for librarians.
  • Promote the value and importance of the services offered by libraries and librarians of the state of Texas.

The development of TLA’s social media presence is a collaborative effort that is moderated by more than one person. TLA staff and members will work together to periodically assess the role of each social media site. All members and staff are encouraged to contribute content.

All TLA units must provide the TLA Office ( with administrative login rights and information (username and password). TLA will assist units in assuring continuity of social media platforms even as officers and members transition.

All units must adviser members that they must adhere to TLA and forum policies.

Unit administrators must advise members that posts on social media sites should be professional in tone and in good taste.

Use your “professional lens” when naming pages or accounts, selecting a profile picture or icon, and selecting content to post. Note that names, profile images, and posts should all be clearly linked to the particular divisions, round table, committees, or members.

Unit administrators should advise members to be respectful of TLA, its services, members, employees, and stakeholders. Understand that social media is public, permanent, and retrievable. Messages can be read by anyone, even those not on the friend/subscriber list. There should be no expectation of privacy.

Unit administrators should advise members that failure to follow TLA and SM site policies and terms of use may result in the removal of post or loss of access to SM forums.


  • Make titles and messages brief, but add value: Post content that will be useful, interesting, or engaging to your audience. Don’t just post several links to other items.
  • Before posting, check facts, cite sources, and check spelling and grammar. Do not use copyrighted photos and/or images.
  • Post regularly. Simply having a presence isn't enough — you need to populate the site with good, relevant content. We recommend a maximum of one post per day on weekdays (ie: up to five posts per week). Make the post count.
  • Are you not entertained? Ask questions in your posts. Don't just talk at your readers — engage them.
  • Monitor your page, and keep up with the conversation. Regularly read all the posts on your page, including those posted by others. Sometimes, colleagues will ask important questions via social media rather than phone or email. Make sure to find these questions and answer them directly on the page.
  • Don’t use all upper case letters when writing, unless you are referencing a book title. THIS is considered shouting.
  • Protect confidential and proprietary information.
  • Do not censor negative comments. Use your best judgment as to whether you want to try to reply officially and respectfully, or simply ignore the comment. At times, it’s best to not draw attention to the negativity. However, any comments that violate TLA or site policies should be immediately reported.
  • Unit administrators and members may not post personal attacks, insults, threatening language, potentially libelous tatements.
  • The use or inclusion of plagiarized copyrighted materials, commercial promotions, spam, or unauthorized images or content is strictly prohibited.
  • Report any harassing, inappropriate, or illegal content to TLA and the SM site (if appropriate).


Social media presence is open for interaction with all members of the public.

TLA will accept connections, followers or “friends” from everyone except:

  • Users who have violated the TLA’s social media policies
  • Users who post any inflammatory, offensive, or exploitative materials
  • Unofficial TLA platforms

TLA will “follow back” any fans or followers that are:

  • Libraries, librarians, TLA members and literary- or academic-related users
  • Non-commercial in nature
  • Of possible interest to the TLA community


TLA does not collect, maintain, or otherwise use personal information stored on any third party site in any way other than to communicate with users on that site. TLA may use your content in another forum, but will never do so without explicit credit.  Users may remove themselves at any time from the TLA’s lists and social media forums. Users should be aware that third party websites have their own privacy policies and should proceed accordingly.

TLA reserves the right to remove any posts or comments.

TLA assumes no liability regarding any event or interaction created or posted by any participant in any TLA-sponsored social media service, and does not endorse content outside the “pages” created by Library faculty or staff. These guidelines only govern the official TLA social media sites and not the personal accounts of members and staff.

TLA is not responsible or liable for content posted by subscribers in any forum, message board, or other social media resource, and such subscriber comments do not reflect the opinions and/or positions of TLA, its administrators, or its employees.

Back to the top. 


As of July 10, the Texas Library Association will offer Google Apps Accounts to the various units within TLA. With these accounts, units will have 30GB of storage space for documents, the ability to send email from the ‘’ domain, and access to a number of other services provided by Google.

These account will be managed by TLA Staff so if the password is lost, staff can easily reset it for you.


Units that request a Google Apps account will receive an email in the format of ‘’ accessible through Gmail. Please consider using this email address to register any other social media accounts that your unit may have. This will make it easier for future officers to recover the account’s password should it be lost.

Refrain from sending bulk email to membership from this account – use your unit’s distribution list accessible from the Secure Members section of the TLA Website.

Google Drive

30GB of storage are provided for each account. Consider storing documents that might assist future officers in planning and executing the activities of your unit here. You can also use Drive to share documents with others, engage membership in planning and brainstorming, and in conducting simple surveys.

It can be difficult to transfer ownership of documents from a standard Drive Account to a Google Apps Drive Account. If you have a small number of documents in your personal Drive Account that you would like to transfer to your divisions account, the easiest solution is to download the documents from your personal account to a local computer and then upload them to your unit’s Drive Account. If you have a large number of documents, please contact TLA IT for assistance –

Other Google Services

You can use your unit’s Google Apps account to manage other Google Services, such Blogger, Google Analytics, and Google+. Attaching these services to a single account makes it easy to pass on access to the next caretaker.

There are some services that cannot be attached to these accounts – such as Google Wallet and AdSense.

Accessing Google Apps Services

You can use the following links to access services:

For other Google Services you can login from the portal page for that service.

Requesting a Google Apps Account

Account request should be made by the chair of the unit. Request should be sent to Account information will be sent to the chair and may be distributed to other members as needed.

Requesting a Password Reset

If the password to your unit’s Google Apps Account has been lost and you are unable to recover the password using Google’s Password Recovery Tools, the chair of the unit may request that the password be reset. TLA Staff will generate a new password and deliver it to the chair who may distribute it as needed.

Acceptable Use of Google Apps

In addition to the Terms of the Google Apps Acceptable Use Policy the following terms apply to Google Apps accounts created through the ‘’ domain:

  • Accounts will only be used for Texas Library Association business
  • Communications originating from these accounts will be professional in tone.
  • Accounts will not be used to store or propagate pornographic material, hate speech, or other crass material
  • Accounts and behavior/content must abide by all TLA policies, including the External Communications Policy and Social Media Policy.

If an account is found to be in violation of these terms, the account will be suspended until it returns to compliance. A report will be generated and submitted to the officers of the unit detailing violations and recommending corrective measures.

Back to the top.

Last Updated: June 10, 2015; Gloria Meraz.

Created on Feb 25, 2015 | Last updated October 25, 2016