Shared values

While the common values and ethics of librarianship and social work may be obvious to those who straddle both fields, they become more apparent when viewing them side by side.  Key language such as service, social justice, and responsibility highlight commonalities between the fields.  Below, Sara Zettervall and Mary Nienow outline the core values of each profession as stated in the professions’ respective declarations.  I also mapped these overlapping values during a panel with Zettervall and Nienow at the American Library Association conference in 2017.

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Reproduced with permission from Sara Zettervall*


American Library Association. (2004). Core values of librarianship. Retrieved from

Council on Social Work Education. (2015). 2015 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards for Baccalaureate and Master’s Social Work Programs. Council on Social Work Education. Retrieved from

National Association of Social Workers. (2018). NASW Code of Ethics. Retrieved from

Oldfield, M. (2017, June 24). Social justice in libraries: Social work roots and the progressive library mission. Retrieved from

*Zettervall, S. K., & Nienow, M.C. (2018, June 21). Whole Person Librarianship: Social Work Concepts for Social Justice Library Service. Presented at the 2018 American Library Association Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA. Retrieved from

Zettervall, S.K., Nienow, M.C., Johnson, S.C., Horn, A., & Lowe, H. (2017, June). Whole Person Librarianship: Libraries and Social Workers in Collaboration. Presented at the ALA Annual Meeting 2017, Chicago, IL. Retrieved from