Kay Mathiesen, Assistant Professor
School of Information Resources and Library Science University of Arizona
Forthcoming in: Journal of Information Ethics
As a result of the global economic turndown, many local and national governments are disinvesting in public libraries. This paper proposes that governments have an obligation to create and fund public libraries, because access to a public library is a human right. Starting with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and appealing to recent work in Human Rights Theory, I argue that there is a human right to information, which states are obligated to fulfill. Given that libraries are highly effective institutions for ensuring that this right is fulfilled, there is a derived human right to a public library.
Download Full Text (32 pages; PDF)