Code of Conduct

Online Code of Conduct
Statement of intent

The American Library Association (ALA) is dedicated to fostering an open, inclusive, and collaborative environment. ALA members uphold a commitment to zero tolerance for harassment in any form.

The Online Code of Conduct (“Code of Conduct”) is a dynamic document that is subject to regular review with annual assessments and updates as needed. It aims to create an inclusive and respectful community for all members. It is important to note that while this document attempts to be comprehensive, violations, whether with the "letter of the law" or "spirit of the law" are prohibited.


The purpose of this Code of Conduct is to establish a culture of professionalism, courtesy, respect, and inclusivity in all online interactions among ALA participants. Each member is accountable for the content they contribute to these online platforms.

This Code of Conduct complements the ALA Virtual Meeting Code of Conduct, which applies to professional conferences and meetings organized by ALA.


Harassment is strictly prohibited and encompasses any form of demeaning or disparaging comments, non-verbal expressions, or imagery targeting individuals or groups based on:

  • Race, ethnicity, or native language
  • Sex, gender, gender identity, or expression
  • Language
  • Sexual orientation
  • Physical or mental disability
  • Physical appearance, body size, or presentation
  • Age
  • Religious or political beliefs, including the absence of religious beliefs
  • Marital or family status
  • Nationality, citizenship status, or geographic location
  • Employment or military status
  • Socioeconomic status

Posts featuring sexual, violent, or discriminatory content are strictly prohibited

Intimidation, stalking, sustained disruption, inappropriate physical or virtual contact, or unwelcome attention, including sexual attention, will not be tolerated.

Foster dynamic discussions and engage in respectful dialogue. Be open to critique and offer it constructively. Approach discussions with an open mind and be receptive to learning. Remember, thousands may view your posts, and they may remain online indefinitely, potentially seen by colleagues, employers, and patrons.

Respect intellectual property and provide appropriate credit. Users must obtain permission for any non-original content they post. Include copyright notices when necessary, inquire about creator information when it's unknown, and be ready to provide credits if identified after posting.

Endorsement or promotion of local, state, or federal political candidates or encouraging boycotts is strictly prohibited due to IRS restrictions for tax-exempt organizations. Detailed information can be found on the ALA Legal Framework page.

Promotion of paid products, events, or services not initiated by the American Library Association is not permitted. Sharing non-paid opportunities that benefit the community is encouraged, but do not spam communities. Be mindful of reposting the same opportunity and consider the needs of each community where you share information. When sharing opportunities, ensure alignment with the specific needs of the community's members.

Job Postings are restricted to the ALA Job Community or ALA JobLIST. We recommend the use of the ALA JobLIST career center for a wider range of career-related services. If posting a career opportunity on Connect, it can be placed in the ALA Jobs community exclusively.

Ensure your content is as accessible as possible. Use alt text for images, caption video content where possible, and use high-contrast color schemes when using color. To learn more about accessibility, helpful resources include the DLF Guide to Creating Accessible Presentations, Contrast Ratio, and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Accessibility page.

Post as yourself. Do not impersonate any other people or entities that you are not affiliated with.
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Promote dynamic discussions and engage in respectful dialogue. Embrace critique and offer it constructively. Approach discussions with an open mind and a willingness to learn. Posts may remain online indefinitely and be seen by colleagues, employers, and patrons

Respect freedom of expression, fostering spirited discussions and debates. Differing on ideas is distinct from attacking individuals, especially when discussing challenging topics. Promote genuine inquiry that builds trusting relationships, ensuring a safe, respectful, and supportive environment even during complex changes. Communicate candidly and respectfully regarding difficult subjects, acknowledging privileges and learning from the community.

Consider and take responsibility for the impact of your communications. Impact holds greater significance than intent, particularly when nonverbal cues and voice tone are absent. Statements, especially humor, can easily be misinterpreted as aggressive or negative.

Listen as much as you share. Recognize that other participants may possess expertise you are unaware of. Make conversations inclusive and practice active listening.

When encountering problematic content, you may address it either publicly or privately. Acknowledge that your response contributes to a respectful discussion. Identifying factually erroneous or offensive comments maintains a safe space and strengthens the community. These situations offer opportunities for education and growth.

Speak from your own experience and avoid making generalizations. If unsure about the accuracy of something, seek resources from the community.

Respect others' pronouns. Community members' pronounces are often visible in their profile or signature, preferred names, and forms of address. Consider using gender-neutral collective nouns/pronouns when addressing groups, such as "everyone".

Share inspiring content. Content such as news stories about events, examples of successful library programming, and strategies for troubleshooting is a benefit to the member community.

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Trust and Safety

The foundation of our community is trust and safety. We encourage the sharing of information; members share in the community because they feel safe to do so. If you intend to share a community colleague’s content outside of ALA Connect, be courteous and seek their permission to do so first. Please act in good faith and practice equanimity with your peers. Please do not share member content outside of ALA Connect with the intent to harm a fellow member professionally or to retaliate due to disagreement within the platform.

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Where to go for help

If you think you have seen activity that violates the letter or the spirit of this Code of Conduct, please alert our moderators:

Anonymous reports are permitted although they may limit the moderators' ability to address conflicts fully and hinder follow-up. The moderators will acknowledge all reports as promptly as possible, generally within the next business day.

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What to expect when reporting

ALA Staff will contact both parties in an incident, the user reporting the incident and the reported violator. Confidentiality may restrict details of issue resolution. Content violating the Code of Conduct may be deleted, and in severe cases, violators may face temporary access suspension before a decision on the incident. The gravity of the offense will dictate consequences, that range from discussing the topic at hand to full suspension from one or more platforms. The Code of Conduct will be applied fairly, with resolutions guided by the Moderation Policies and Procedures. Moderators will prioritize context and impact when making decisions, striving for accountability and respecting the wishes of those involved. If violators receive a suspension, the duration will be clearly communicated in writing.

Only Moderation Type D offenses may appeal a decision by emailing Appeals must be submitted within 60 days of the date when the moderators' decision was communicated, and include the reason for the appeal and arguments for changing the decision. The ALA Executive Committee will oversee the appeal process.
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Moderation and Transparency

The Code of Conduct Committee reviews reported incidents according to Moderation Levels.

You can review current ALA Connect Moderation Policies and Procedures here.

Transparency on the moderation of ALA Connect is provided annually by the Code of Conduct Committee in a Transparency report. Transparency reports can be found here.
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Who the Code of Conduct covers

The Code of Conduct applies to all users on any platforms used by ALA, including websites, blogs, online publications, ALA Connect, and ALA-managed social media channels. This encompasses members, organizations, employers, and anyone who registers on these platforms. Violations on one platform may result in consequences on other platforms.
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Who applies the Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct is a dynamic document intended for iterative updates, reflecting new developments across all platforms. ALA has a standing committee of moderators responsible for resolving Code of Conduct violations. Committee members are themselves subject to the Code of Conduct.
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Updates to the Code of Conduct

Moderators will conduct an annual review of the Code of Conduct to address community issues and evolving online trends. Revisions will be made as needed, addressing any issues arising from specific incidents.

Changes to the Code of Conduct will be communicated via email to all ALA Connect members. Relevant posts will be made on other ALA channels as necessary.
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