Celebrating 40 Years of Canada’s Freedom to Read Week

As Canada celebrates Freedom to Read Week’s 40th anniversary, let’s dive into the continued fight against censorship and how communities throughout Canada get involved.

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Two images on the left show people holding and reading books, while there are books and a lamp to the right.

In the current state of censorship and banning books, Canada will hold its Freedom to Read Week throughout the country from February 18-24, 2024. Every year, Freedom to Read Week has been instated and has been going on for decades. As it celebrates its 40th anniversary, its goal to bring insight into censorship and the current happenings with censorship stays the same. With this consistency, Freedom to Read Week has been a way to unite communities and organizations all throughout Canada.

What is Freedom to Read Week?

Bringing together organizations in Canada that support various forms of writing, the Book and Periodical Council worked to get the Freedom to Read Week into motion 40 years ago. This year, many have joined the BPC, including Library and Archives Canada, the Canadian Urban Libraries Council, and the Ontario Library Association, in bringing this week to life to allow Canadians to delve into intellectual freedom and how it impacts everyone.

People sitting on flowers in bloom sprout from a house as people sit on them to read. Image says: Thanks for supporting our freedom to read!
IMAGE VIA BOOKS AND PERIODICAL COUNCIL INSTAGRAM

With the rising talks of censorship, Freedom to Read stays firm with its tenets stating,

VIA FREEDOM TO READ

Celebrating the Freedom to Read

This year, communities all around Canada are invited to take part in Freedom to Read through various events. Freedom to Read is set to explore the banning and challenging of books in places such as classrooms or libraries. People can come together to have a Banned Book Reading Marathon or even read banned and challenged books out loud during an open mic in Alberta. There are also in-person and virtual opportunities for people to learn about the harms of censorship and what it looks like to ensure that creative freedom continues to be available for readers and writers.

Picture shows 8 people reading books with Freedom to Read Week written out
IMAGE VIA FREEDOM TO READ

Freedom to Read Week also looks to different platforms to spread the word this week and also looks beyond and sees what people can do throughout the year. Posters can be ordered, graphics can be shared on social media, and ideas to organize local events and activities are shared to empower people to lead the conversations too.

While censorship and the banning of books is certainly not a new circumstance, the scrutiny of books in schools and libraries has risen to great heights. Despite it all, communities and events like Canada’s Freedom to Read are a reminder of creative and intellectual freedom and the fight to ensure that books, writing, and information are still accessible to everyone.


To read more about book bans, click here.

Check out current banned books here.

FEATURED IMAGE VIA BOOKSTR / BERNARDINE LANDICHO