Censorship. Access to information. Freedom of expression.
These are pillars of democracy that can’t be taken for granted.
“Freedom to Read Week is an annual event that encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is guaranteed them under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”
Here at Kitchener Public Library, we’re ready to honour Freedom to Read Week from Feb. 22- Feb. 28, but we’ve already started with our special events and displays.
Throughout February, we’re hosting Free Flicks in the Theatre at Central Library every Tuesday night, showcasing films made from frequently challenged or banned books. We’ve already shown Of Mice and Men and Animal Farm.
Free Flicks are (obviously) free and no registration is required. Just drop in and feel free to bring your own snacks.
And on Feb. 26 at 7 pm, join us for a presentation on Banned Books. Learn more about the types of materials that have been questioned at Kitchener Public Library, and why Freedom to Read week was created. This event is free;
Visit Forest Heights Community Library throughout February for a special altered books exhibit created by students from Forest Heights Collegiate Institute, including this piece by Alex Deadman-Wylie representing Lord of the Flies:
At Central Library and Country Hills Community Library, we invite you to choose a frequently banned or challenged book without knowing much about it. Pick one up, take it home, and unwrap a surprise from our collection:
CHILDREN, TEENS AND TWEENS
You’ll also have an opportunity to get the discussion started with children about banned and challenged books, and what Freedom to Read means. Stop by the children’s area at Central Library for a display of frequently banned and challenged books, including the fantastic but much-maligned And Tango Makes Three.
Why should we expose teens and tweens to banned or challenged books? Senior library assistant Alexis explains:
“My favourite banned books are actually a series: Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Through her pragmatic, thoughtful, and often very humorous title character’s observations, the author unpacks some really serious themes, including sex, drugs, violence, and even suicide. Parents object frequently — and with great vehemence, of course.
“In my own experience as a tween, reading about Alice’s relationship with Patrick or her experimenting with drinking didn’t make me want to run out and do these things myself; rather, what I took away was Naylor’s masterful ability to balance open, nonjudgmental dialogue with Alice’s own steady moral compass. As with many other banned books for adolescents, this series provides a safe space to explore divisive, embarrassing, or even potentially dangerous situations in a level-headed way. I highly recommend them!”
So, just how scandalous is your reading history? Take this quiz to find out. Some of our library staffers are very scandalous! (We won’t say who).