ACRL and Advertising

Earlier this year, several members contacted the ACRL Board to express their concern about some advertising that appeared in our e-newsletters. Although advertising revenue is significant to the operation of ACRL, we listened to the expressed concerns and the ACRL Board of Directors agreed to review its advertising policy and processes.

During the period of the review we were, and remain, obligated to honor all contractual agreements with all companies with which we had advertising contracts.

At the Board Strategic Planning and Orientation session in the fall, the ACRL Board conducted a thorough review of ACRL’s advertising policies including consulting with legal counsel. The Board voted to affirm its existing policy, “All advertising is subject to the publisher’s approval. The publisher reserves the right to reject advertising” with the addition of the phrase “for any reason” so as to leave no doubt that the decision rests entirely with ACRL. The complete policy now reads: “All advertising is subject to the publisher’s approval. The publisher reserves the right to reject advertising for any reason.”

The Board further discussed under what conditions ACRL might choose to reject an advertisement, as an advertisement does not constitute an endorsement of a product or service. We determined that ACRL would consider rejecting an ad if the advertising company:

  • Provides “education” or information that is contrary to ACRL values/educational message/mission/policies, or
  • Actively promotes an agenda/education opposing core principles of academic librarianship.

The Board also made a commitment to alert ACRL staff of questionable services, practices, or messages that vendors may be making that would be in conflict with ACRL’s advertising policy. With this process in place ACRL would choose not to accept additional advertising from companies about which concerns were expressed.

The ACRL Board of Directors wishes to acknowledge and express our appreciation to those of you who shared your concerns about advertisements in our publications. ACRL could not accomplish as much as it does without the efforts of its many member volunteers and we appreciate your service to further the profession for the greater good.

Trevor A. Dawes
2013-14 ACRL President