February 18-24, 2024
Freedom to Read Week is an annual event that encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Answer the trivia questions and learn about books and authors that have been subject to censorship in Canada and worldwide. Once completed, you can enter the draw to win a prize.
Test your knowledge here: Freedom to Read Trivia
Paper copies of the trivia challenge are also available for pickup at your local library branch.
Deadline to complete the challenge is Thursday, February 29 at 9 pm. Winners of the five literary-themed prize packs will be notified by Friday, March 15, 2024.
Try these subject headings, electronic resources, or check with reference staff for more materials:
Our librarians have created some booklists to help you explore Freedom to Read Week:
Dangerous Ideas: A Brief History of Censorship in the West, from the Ancients to Fake News by Eric Berkowitz
Read Dangerously: The Subversive Power of Literature in Troubled Times by Azar Nafisi
From Kanopy Streaming Films
Tania Libre (2017): Cuban artist, Tania Bruguera visits Dr. Ochberg a New York-based psychiatrist, after spending eight months in prison accused of treason after announcing her intention to provide an uncensored platform for citizens in Havana to freely express their views in public for one minute. The film touches upon broader issues related to the revolutionary potential of art, censorship, and the loss of civil liberties.
Project Censored (2013): The documentary looks at what is wrong with the news media in the U.S. today and highlights the work of 40-year veteran media democracy organization Project Censored and their commitment to media literacy education as an antidote to top-down, managed news propaganda and censorship. The film was created by former Project Censored Sonoma State University student Doug Hecker and longtime project supporter Christopher Oscar and it features original interviews about media censorship.
The Cleaners (2018): The documentary follows the people outsourced from Silicon Valley whose job is to delete “inappropriate” content of the net. In a parallel struggle, the film introduces people around the globe whose lives are dramatically affected by online censorship. A typical “cleaner” must observe and rate thousands of often deeply disturbing images and videos every day, leading to lasting psychological impacts. Yet underneath their work lies profound questions around what makes an image art or propaganda and what defines journalism. Where exactly is the point of balance for social media to be neither an unlegislated space nor a forum rife with censorship?
Forbidden Voices (2012): World-famous bloggers Yoani Sánchez, Zeng Jinyan and Farnaz Seifi are unafraid of their dictatorial regimes, though their voices are suppressed, prohibited and censored. In Cuba, China and Iran their blogs shake the foundations of the state information monopoly, putting them at great risk. Content warning: Includes footage of Sánchez's brutal beating by Cuban police for criticizing her country's regime; Chinese human rights activist Jinyan under house arrest for four years; and Iranian journalist and women's advocate Seifi forced into exile, where she blogs under a pseudonym.
Stories found in the media on intellectual freedom, book banning, and censorship.
Magazines and Academic Journals (EBSCOhost)
Canadian Newspapers (Canadian Newsstream)
A part of intellectual freedom is the right to seek out information without restriction. Developing strong critical thinking skills will help you assess for yourself what you read. Here are some tools to help:
Kermode Education: This web app can be used to check an online story for accuracy, bias, and timeliness of its content. It provides graphics, questions, and explanations that will help you decide whether the page is a good source of information or not. When logging in, enter the first 5 digits of your library card barcode number as the license key.
Fighting Misinformation (2020): An 8-episode series from the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX) and The Great Courses, available through Kanopy Streaming Films. The videos will show what misinformation is and how it impacts you. You will also learn skills to become a savvier media consumer.
Freedomtoread.ca is the national site celebrating Freedom to Read Week.
Freedom to Read Week is organized by the Book and Periodical Council (BPC),the umbrella organization for Canadian associations that are or whose members are primarily involved with the writing, editing, translating, publishing, producing, distributing, lending, marketing, reading and selling of written words.