Freedom to Read Week 2016: What’s On Across Canada

Every February, we celebrate Freedom to Read Week – seven days where we salute our right to read and write as we please. Check out some of the great events happening across the country, including our talk with Max Blumenthal and Olivia Ward, Embattled Truths: Reporting on Gaza, at the Toronto Reference Library on February 24. Unless otherwise indicated, all the events below are free of charge. For a complete listing, click here

Freedom to Read Week is a project of the Book and Periodical Council’s Freedom of Expression Committee.

Freedom to Read Week 2016

Cover-to-Cover Book Club: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Estevan Public Library, Estevan, Saskatchewan
February 18, 6:30 p.m.

In honour of Freedom to Read Week, the Estevan Public Library’s Cover-to-Cover book club invites the public to read the oft-challenged book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, and join in a discussion of the book, censorship and free speech on Thursday, February 18 at 6:30 p.m.

Freedom to Read Contest and Display 
Campbellton Centennial Library, Campbellton, New Brunswick
Contest closes February 19

Grade 9-12 students are invited to create a drawing, poem, story or photograph answering the question: “What does Freedom of Expression mean to you?” Entries should be delivered to the Campbellton Centennial Library before February 19, and will be displayed for the public during Freedom to Read Week (February 23-27).

Challenged Books and Why They’re Challenged
Pictou Public Library, Pictou, Nova Scotia
February 22, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Join in a discussion of banned books, and why they were banned in the first place. Part of the Pictou Public Library’s Senior’s Café speakers series. Light refreshments served.

Poetry Through Subtraction: Using Censorship to Create Art
SD&G County Library Lancaster Branch, Lancaster, Ontario
February 22 to February 27, Library Hours

Create your own poetry with censorship! Using documents or copied pages from books, the community is invited to create their own poems or stories by covering up words. While you’re at the library, check out the Banned and Challenged Books display.

Banned Books Storytime
Marjorie Mews Public Library, St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
February 24, 3:30 p.m.

Rhyme and sing along with a selection of banned books written for children aged 0-7 and their caregivers. All ages, of course, are welcome.

Embattled Truths: Reporting on Gaza
Toronto Reference Library
February 24, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Acclaimed US journalist Max Blumenthal, author of The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza, talks with Toronto Star foreign affairs reporter, Olivia Ward, on the challenges of sifting truth from propaganda when reporting on conflict in the Gaza Strip.

Virginia Woolf and the Importance of ‘A Room of One’s Own’
Toronto Public Library High Park Branch
February 25, 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Janice Kulyk Keefer, author of The Ladies’ Lending Library, will speak to the importance of free and equitable access to libraries, inspired by Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own.

Forward Thinking Speaker Series: Salman Rushdie
Chateau Lacombe Hotel, Edmonton, Alberta
February 25, 7:00 p.m. (doors at 6:00 p.m)
Tickets: $10 General Admission, $150 VIP ticket

The Edmonton Public Library welcomes Sir Salman Rushdie as part of the Forward Thinking Speaker Series and Freedom to Read Week. As a thought leader of freedom of expression, Rushdie will share his experiences and viewpoints with the aim of building better organizations, neighbourhoods and communities.

Freedom to Read-A-Thon
Kingston Frontenac Public Library Central Branch, Kingston, Ontario
February 26, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Drop in to the Kingston Frontenac Public Library’s central branch to celebrate Freedom to Read Week with readings from banned or challenged books. Read, listen, and take part in a conversation about intellectual freedom and censorship.

Naughty Bits Reader’s Theatre
Owl Acoustic Lounge, Lethbridge, Alberta
February 26, 8:00 p.m.

To wrap up Freedom to Read Week, the Owl Acoustic Lounge invites the community to read aloud and listen to the “naughty bits” of books selected by Lethbridge Public Library staff.

Connect with Freedom to Read Week on Facebook and Twitter, or check out their website, for the most up-to-date information on events, banned books and your right to read!