The case study presents the results of a lecture on information rights and ethics with 50 Master students in library and information sciences (LIS) at the University of Lille (France) in 2014–2015. Students were asked to comment on the core principles of the International Federation of Library Association (IFLA) Code of Ethics.
The students see the library as a privileged space of access to information, where the librarian takes on the function of a guardian of this specific individual freedom—a highly political role and task.
This opinion is part of a general commitment to open access and free flowing resources on Internet. They emphasize the social responsibility toward the society as a whole but most of all toward the individual patron as a real person, member of a cultural community, a social class or an ethnic group.
With regard to Human Rights, the students interpret the IFLA Code mainly as a code of civil, political, and critical responsibility to endorse the universal right of freedom of expression.
They see a major conflict between ethics and policy. The findings are followed by some recommendations for further development of LIS education, including internship, transversality, focus on conflicts and the students’ cognitive dissonance and teaching of social skills, in terms of work-based solidarity and collective choices.
The chapter is qualitative research based on empirical data from a French LIS Master program.