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Freedom to Read Week 2023

webcard free people read freely on grey background with banned books surrounding it

Feb 17, 2023

Writing about human rights law and gender equality in 1987, retired Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Abella wrote that “equality is a process of constant and flexible examination, of vigilant introspection, and of aggressive open-mindedness." The same could be said of many of our freedoms in Canada, including the freedom to read, which we celebrate this week during Freedom to Read Week, February 19 to 25, 2023.  

Access to information is at the very core of public libraries as underlined by the OPL Board’s approval of the revised Intellectual Freedom Position Statement in June 2022. OPL values curiosity and upholds intellectual freedom as essential for an informed, democratic society. OPL champions the free exchange of lawful information and ideas while working to counter misinformation and disinformation by selecting material according to professional guidelines, by fostering information literacy and critical thinking skills among readers, and by equipping citizens with the tools to navigate information. 

OPL is proud to promote intellectual freedom, while not remaining unaware of its challenges.  A commitment to intellectual freedom protects the voices, perspectives, and content that you may support or care about, as well as voices, perspectives, and content that you may find uncomfortable, or even offensive and hurtful.  While intellectual freedom is not neutral, it is principled - and it is a core tenet of libraries that we can all take pride in defending.  Exercising your freedom to read doesn’t end with reading: it is reinforced by thoughtful conversation, debate, and discussion. OPL welcomes respectful, open, and transparent discussions about intellectual freedom, and aims to ensure a balance of perspectives in its collections.  

Freedom to Read Week is organized by the Book and Periodical Council’s Freedom of Expression Committee, to broaden awareness about censorship and challenges to books and magazines in Canada. Here’s how OPL is celebrating Freedom to Read Week 2023: 

This year, celebrate your freedom to read, and exercise your responsibility to stay informed, literate, and keep thinking critically – with OPL! 

Freedom to Read/La liberté d' expression
by CD_Librarian

Titles that have been challenged in libraries across Canada/ Les titres qui ont été contestés dans les bibliothèques à travers le Canada