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article imageOp-Ed: Freedom to Read Week set for February 20 to February 26, 2011

By Susan Keeping     Jan 25, 2011 in Entertainment
The freedom to read is a fundamental right for all Canadians. Freedom to Read week highlights the fight against censorship.
Freedom to Read week will take place in Canada from February 20 to February 26. The week is a way to highlight the threats to reading in Canada, and throughout the world. Many celebrations and viewings will be presented across the country, you can get a full calendar on the Freedom to Read website.
The most frequently challenged books for 2009 have several that appear every year. For instance, the book And Tango Makes Three has been challenged every year since it was published in 2006. The book is a picture book about two male penguins raising a chick. Challenges for 2009 were up dramatically from 2008; they almost doubled. Many of the challenged books don't make much sense; Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide 2009 and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue are two that were challenged by library patrons.
The most challenged book for 2009, according to the Canadian Library Association, was the Southern Vampire Mysteries of Sookie Stackhouse, followed closely by the Gossip Girl novels.
A further threat to the freedom to read is the closing of libraries, the cutting of their budgets and the pressure put on them by group wanting certain materials removed. Libraries should be bastions of the freedom to read. They should be places for free access for all to whatever they wish to read, many of which will be controversial. Of course, access to illegal pornography and materials should not be allowed.
It has not happened in Canada that I know of, but recently a library in Connecticut in the US had to cancel the planned showing of Michael's Moore's documentary "Sicko". According to an article by Kenneth C. Davis, the showing was disallowed by city council because, as one official said about the library, "we want it to be a place for relaxation and fun for kids", he further went on to say that a library was no place for "controversial material." The library chairman had no choice but to give in because the library was threatened with a budget cut and possible job losses if they did not comply.
Libraries must be left alone by petty politicians who are only looking out for their own careers and the interests of those who contribute to their campaigns, it is the only way we can truly have the freedom to read.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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