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Freedom to Read Week 2024: Ottawa Public Library stands strong for Intellectual Freedom

Monday, February 12, 2024

OTTAWA – For Ottawa Public Library (OPL), Freedom to Read Week, February 18 to 24, 2024, is an opportunity to underline the importance of free expression and the role of libraries in upholding the free and open exchange of lawful information and ideas in a democratic society. Freedom to Read Week, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is an annual event led by the Book and Periodical Council of Canada, Library and Archives Canada, the Canadian Urban Library Council, and the Ontario Library Association, urging Canadians to think about the importance of intellectual freedom. Freedom to Read Week provides citizens with the opportunity to discuss book challenges and bans, censorship, access to information, as well as the roles of the Library and the literary community in representing the wide range of views in society.  

OPL protects and promotes the right to read, think, and access a diverse range of ideas and information; while encouraging curiosity and supporting learning. This commitment extends to supporting information literacy and equipping clients with the skills needed to navigate complex topics, evaluate information, and engage in critical thinking – all crucial for a well-informed, democratic society. 

Freedom to Read Week Events at Ottawa Public Library  

Freedom to Read Week programming at OPL highlights the Library’s ongoing commitment to intellectual freedom and celebrates diversity of views and voices in literature.  This year, OPL invites the public to two stand-out events to celebrate their freedom to read and exercise their intellectual freedom. Admission is free; registration is recommended.   

Award-winning author and veteran journalist, John Ibbitson, will reflect on approaches to exploring historical published works in context in order to enrich our understanding of society, and will talk about the “war on words.”  

Celebrated novelist and award-winner Lawrence Hill will discuss his lifelong passion for bringing under-represented aspects of Black history in Canada to life. He will talk about his literary journey and the challenges of censorship he and other writers have faced, notably the title change for the American edition of The Book of Negroes. 

Later this month, check the OPL website for more content related to Freedom to Read Week, including short video clips featuring a wide range of perspectives on free expression, as well as featured book lists and information about OPL’s  “Free People Read Freely – Lire Librement” t-shirt giveaway!  

OPL encourages all Ottawans - readers and thinkers alike - to participate in Freedom to Read Week events to reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom and engage in meaningful discussions about their rights to free expression and access to information.  

For more details about Freedom to Read Week at OPL, visit Join us for Freedom to Read Week  | Ottawa Public Library (