Bookish Tradition In Canada That Celebrates Freedom to Read

Freedom to Read Week offers a way for Canadians to celebrate their basic liberties. It also warns of the consequences of censorship.

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This year Freedom to Read Week in Canada will occur from February 19 to February 25. Freedom to Read Week has been a Canadian tradition and nationally celebrated occurrence since its founding in 1984. It was originally started as a way to challenge the furtive nature of censorship and to create a wider awareness of challenges arising out of censorship within the world of writing in Canada.

The goal was to allow Canadian citizens to defend their rights to publish material, read freely, and write without constraints. Along with this goal was the other objective of widening Canadians’ awareness and understanding of censorship’s negative effects on readers, writers, and publishers.

The Origins of Freedom to Read Week

One of the focuses of Freedom to Read Week in Canada is to increase awareness of banned books within the nation. The Freedom of Expression Committee, a subgroup of the Book and Periodical Council in Canada, was formed in 1978 to oppose and increase awareness of attempts to ban books and other reading materials and is responsible for starting Freedom to Read Week in Canada. Their mission statement involves the monitoring and resistance of threats to free expression, intellectual freedom, access to reading materials, and censorship in public spaces.

Book burning

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The Canadian Federation of Library Associations also administers the Intellectual Freedom Challenges Survey each year to gather information about the outcome and nature of challenges to materials and policies within publicly funded libraries. The survey allows the organization to create a more informed policy and advocacy strategy for intellectual freedom within Canada.

Freedom to Read Week Today

Freedom to Read Week now is an annual celebration throughout Canada organized by the Book and Periodical Council. Along with its original goals, today Freedom to Read Week focuses on encouraging Canadians to ponder and value the right they have to read, write, and publish liberally. It allows Canadians to focus on intellectual freedom issues that affect individual communities, provinces, the nation, and countries outside of Canada.


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Freedom to Read Week has been integrated into many public spaces in Canada, such as schools, libraries, and book clubs. There are a variety of ways for Canadians to participate including ordering posters, attending events across the nation, making donations, and financially sponsoring the week. Some of the more popular events include student video contests, public readings of materials that have been challenged or banned in the past, and any other creative ways in which Canadians can demonstrate the importance of the meaning of freedom of expression to them.

Freedom to Read Week has become a strong and widely celebrated program at both the national and community levels in Canada. It has become a fun way for Canadians to reflect upon and celebrate the importance of their freedom of intellect, and, of course, their freedom to read.

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