Various books pictured at the Smithers Public Library. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Various books pictured at the Smithers Public Library. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Smithers library celebrates freedom to read week

The Library is holding a special Feb. 29 presentation on banned or challenged children’s books

As libraries across Canada celebrate Freedom to Read Week, the Smithers Public Library (SPL) will be holding a presentation on books that have been banned or challenged in Canada.

The event takes place on Feb. 29 at 11 a.m. and will feature live readings of a number of banned or challenged books.

Freedom to Read Week takes place from Feb. 23-29. The annual Book and Periodical Council project highlights intellectual freedom and the continuing fight against censorship. For libraries, intellectual freedom is a core value that shapes services, programs, materials and events year-round.

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To fully participate in a democracy, citizens must have access to information and develop knowledgeable opinions informed by a variety of perspectives. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms includes “Freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression” as a fundamental freedom, while The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19, guarantees the right “to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

The Universal Declaration arose from the ashes of the First and Second World Wars to ensure their horrors would never be repeated. In this light, enshrining people’s rights to thought, opinion and expression recalls book-burnings, imprisonment of dissidents and worse. Yet despite our collective hindsight, censorship still occurs in various ways around the world.

Every day libraries inform, challenge, empower and inspire Canadians through collections and events representing diverse points of view and works of the imagination. Libraries are dedicated to promoting intellectual freedom for people of all ages and from all walks of life.

– Submitted article