It’s Freedom to Read Week this Feb. 24 until March 2 and, although folks in Ottawa’s literary community are aware, celebrating is not particularly prevalent in the Nation’s Capital Region this year.
Freedom to Read Week happens annually across the nation to raise awareness and rise against restrictions on reading material in Canada. One way to get involved, regardless of who you are, is by being a part of or creating an event that draws attention to challenged work, including books, magazines and periodicals.
Though it appears there are no Freedom to Read events in Ottawa this year, members of the literary community are aware of and have been willing to weigh in on the occasion.
“The issue of writers is creating avenues for [an] audience, not a hostile audience who would censor,” said Pearl Pirie, an Ottawa author. She said censorship is less common an issue here as getting published is.
Amanda Earl, another Ottawa author previously featured on this blog, has neither encountered herself nor heard of another author’s work being banned, adding though that she supports Freedom to Read Week.
Neither the Ottawa Public Library nor Algonquin College’s Learning Resource Centre are helping draw attention to Freedom to Read Week this year.
Maureen Sheppard, a librarian at Algonquin College, said they’ve raised awareness with a small campaign in the past but not this year. Faculty is working on other projects and causes, such as the Paper Waste Exhibit, she said.
(Edits/to add: Dorothy Jeffreys, coordinator of the lifelong learning and literacy at the OPL, says that despite the absence of programming, the Main Library and some other branches will have a display for Freedom to Read Week and the right to intellectual freedom is included in the library’s core values, as well as the material selection policy).
To learn more about Freedom to Read Week and involve yourself, please visit: http:///www.freedomtoread.ca
Have a good Monday!