|Image from Freedom to Read website|
Freedom to Read Week - called "Banned Books Week" in the United States - encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, a human right guaranteed to us under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. For me, it is also a time to celebrate the library as a bulwark against censorship, and for library workers to reflect on our jobs in a broader political context.
FtRW 2014 is especially important to me, because it's my first FtRW as a librarian. I chatted with the Freedom to Read organizers at the recent OLA Conference, and will tweet this post for their collection. There are some wonderfully creative FtRW displays. Yellow caution tape is very popular, as are books in chains. Some libraries have done "mug shots" of customers and staff holding challenged books. In a library particularly beleaguered by community censors, a program where local writers and readers take turns reading passages from challenged books is a good awareness-raiser.
I created this display of challenged books - books that people wanted removed from public libraries - in the Mississauga Central Library. It incorporates two of my personal display goals: mixed collections (fiction, nonfiction, youth fiction, and graphic novels, all in the same display), and visually accessible signage. I had a great time researching titles, making signs, then trekking through the library with a cart and a clipboard, pulling books. (I love my job!)