The Human Right to a Public Library

Journal of Information Ethics, Forthcoming

32 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2012

Date Written: June 10, 2012


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.

Keywords: human rights, access to information, article 19, libraries

Suggested Citation

Mathiesen, Kay, The Human Right to a Public Library (June 10, 2012). Journal of Information Ethics, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Kay Mathiesen (Contact Author)

Kay Mathiesen ( email )

Boston, MA
United States

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