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freedom to read week webcard

Feb 18, 2024

Are you ready to flaunt your support for freedom of expression and to show off your appreciation for your public library in style? Ottawa Public Library can help you with that. OPL is thrilled to announce the Freedom to Read Week T-Shirt Giveaway! These are not just any t-shirts; they're a statement, a conversation starter, and a badge of honour for readers, thinkers and for everyone who stands behind the statement: Free People Read Freely/ Lire Librement. 

Why Freedom to Read Week? 

Freedom to Read Week is more than a celebration; it's a movement. It's about appreciating the freedom to choose what we read, to exchange ideas, to express, consider and discuss our thoughts freely and have access to diverse perspectives. This Freedom to Read Week (February 18 to 24, 2024) is a chance to stand up for intellectual freedom and the role your Library plays to uphold your right to read and think. 

How to Participate? 

Answer the following question by leaving a comment. You can also enter for a chance to win a Freedom to Read t-shirt by engaging with us on OPL’s Instagram, Facebook or channels. 

  • Tell us about a time when you learned something new or your thinking was stimulated by reading something you did not agree with.  

  • Sixty (60) lucky winners will be chosen randomly. 

  • The contest will close Tuesday, February 20, 2024 at noon.   

Don't miss out on the other Freedom to Read week events! Visit the Ottawa Public Library website or your local branch or during Freedom to Read Week. Let’s make some noise for reading! 


Learning new things

Reading a book and come across a new band, restaurant, history I can Google right away and learn something new!

It's easy to ignore, rather than listen with an open heart

My thinking has been challenged in a number of ways over the last few years. The rise of anti-hate and disinformation messaging has been troublesome. In the past, I would stay silent; not wanting to create waves. But silence is complicit. So I have learned to speak up, and gently push back, to have the uncomfortable conversations and be open to really listening. Most often, these beliefs come from a place of fear. If we can be open to engaging in meaningful and respectful dialogue, then... maybe... we can counteract the hate.

It's easy to ignore

that is true stereotyping and labeling others is so eaasy , but I learned that I should listen with open heart and tehn decide and never rejudge anyone

Learned Something New

I learned something new when I read about the different gender identities and the complexity around this issue.

Understanding the other side

As viewpoints on just about everything have become more polarised and vitriolic, I have stepped away from my comfort zone of reading only newspapers whose editorial slant mirrors my own and also read those whose biases are contrary to mine in an effort to understand where the other side is coming from.

Understanding the other side

As viewpoints on just about everything have become more polarized and vitriolic, I have stepped away from my comfort zone of reading only newspapers whose editorial slant mirrors my own and also read those whose biases are contrary to mine in an effort to understand where the other side is coming from.


I borrowed the book Factfulness by the late Hans Rosling from the OPL. It was an interesting read, complementing what I had already learned in Rosling's famous TED Talks. His take on "climate refugees" was interesting, as he states in his book that they are not as prevalent as the media would suggest, and that it is a concept that distracts from the real socio-economic issues that people might face in some countries. While I don't think I fully agree with Rosling on this point, it is food for thought every time I encounter the term "climate refugees", and makes me think about the complex combination of reasons why people might choose to migrate around the world. With Rosling's opinion in mind, I am driven to seek more information, as a way to further educate my own opinion.

Ethical bombing

Last year I read about ethical bombing in first Europe then Japan during WW2. The idea was to destroy the enemy's ability to conduct war and thus end the war with as few civilian casualties as possible. It is a shame they were not successful. Instead we got fire bombings and the atomic bomb.

Ethical bombing

The reality is intention behind things that people do is different from the reality , they do something and justify it later with something that is not true . taht is a shame !

Approached with SKEPTICISM and Left with Gratitude

One memorable instance where my thinking was stimulated by reading something I didn't initially agree with was when I delved into a book advocating for a political ideology completely opposite to my own beliefs. At first, I approached the book with skepticism, ready to dismiss its arguments outright. However, as I continued reading, I found myself challenged to critically evaluate my own viewpoints. The book forced me to reconsider my assumptions and provided me with a deeper understanding of the complexities surrounding the issue. While I didn't ultimately change my stance, the experience encouraged me to approach differing perspectives with an open mind and engage in more constructive dialogue with those who hold opposing views. It was a valuable lesson in intellectual humility and the importance of engaging with diverse ideas.

Five Little Indians - incredible book

I learn something new every time I read any book. The book that stands out to me is Five Little Indians. I have thought about that book many times since I read it, years ago. It's a book that follows the lives of 5 children through their experiences at a residential school and beyond. Inter-generational trauma is not a concept that I ever understood. I heard enough about it but it always seemed so arbitrary. This book really made me understand how the impacts and the trauma, at a genetic level, can change generations of people. I have recommended that book to all my book friends. It's heavy, but it's a must read. PS: I hope this contest closes at noon Pacific time so I still qualify ! ;)

Freedom to read t-shirts

This evening I listened to Ibbitson's view on the freedom to read, very, very interesting . Love reading his comments and essays, do not always agree with him, which gives me reasons to think about the subject even more. I've been a volunteer at Centrepointe theatre for the past 22 years reason why I was at the Studio theatre , but not as a member of the audience. Volunteers didn't have tickets for the doorprize of a tshirt. I would have been in the audience if I hadn't already agreed to be there as a volunteer. Would it be possible to get one of these limited edition tshirts? Hedda Boon- Heinemann

Alternate Lifestyle

I read the book "The Art and Science of Dumpster Diving" because I was intrigued by the idea of there being a science to this, and it was actually an eye-opener around the volume of waste created by any society and the people who look at it with a different perspective of resources wasted instead of garbage disposed of. The language was a bit salty in places and some of the ideas totally off-the-wall but on the whole, I am inspired by the overall theme of using, not abusing resources and will try some of the ideas out to see if they work for me.

When censorship blocks opinions etc, democracy suffers

Since 2019, we have seen our media diminished through censorship by our governments. We no longer can read in our newspapers alternate ideas which the establishment doesnt agree with. Since 2019 and before, Fair Vote Canada has been blocked from coverage in Canada. We didnt read about Bill 86 which was defeated recently in the HOCs, even though 79% of Canadians, all across the country have joined to pursue a citizens assembly to examine election reform. The national media, and local coverage doesnt cover FVC groups who are organizing to inform Canadians that there is a better way. One of the things electoral reform could do is to open up our lives to more sharing of ideas, opinions, and questions. Read what most european democracies have switched their elections to, comparisons and pros and cons at Fair Vote Canada. Censorship is just another form of the book burnings in Germany in 1933. It simply has no place in a true democracy.