Ctap Essay

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CTAP (word count: 3,204) I. Identification Summary: Barbara Melton is one of two reference librarians at a public library in Marsville. While working, she is approached by a young man who asks for help in researching the city’s water supply and cyanide. Her feeling is that he is nervous and his questions make her uneasy about his motives. She is a professional who believes strongly in the librarian’s code of ethics that protects patrons’ privacy and access to information. Barbara’s library does not register users. However, they do hold a patron’s identification during the time they use the library’s resources. Barbara vaguely noticed his name was Bob, but does not take note of any other identifiers. Several months later, there is a news report of a threatened attack on her city’s water supply. Barbara worries about whether she should have done something, and if she should do something now. Some ethical issues I have identified in this situation are: 1. Should public libraries have filters or history on their computers? 2. Should the library’s policy on user confidentiality be revised? 3. Should libraries ask patrons their reasons for researching particular subjects? 4. Is it right for libraries to collect your identifying information before you use their resources? 5. Is it ok for patrons to use the library’s internet unsupervised? 6. Is it acceptable for newspapers to withhold information concerning a population’s welfare? 7. Is it ok that protocol encourages workers to ignore their gut feeling in deference to a person’s privacy? The ethical issue; “What should Barbara do?” is the main issue because it is the key question to ask in deciding whether or not to get involved in solving, or not solving, the case of the threatened attack on the water supply. Asking too specific of questions, such as; “Should Barbara call the police and tell about

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