Archive for the ‘intellectual freedom’ Category

Fair Dealing, Freedom to Read, and Open Education Weeks

March 8, 2018

It’s been a busy couple of weeks in the library world raising awareness around a variety of issues near and dear to us. (more…)


Freedom to Read Week

March 6, 2017

Last week (February 26-March 4, 2017) was Freedom to Read Week in Canada, an “annual event that encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom.”

The Canadian Federation of Library Associations/Fédération canadienne des associations de bibliothèques (CFLA-FCAB) celebrated Freedom to Read Week by releasing a preliminary report (pdf) on the 2016 findings from their annual Challenges Survey.  Each year CFLA-FCAB collects information on materials and services that have been challenged in Canadian public, academic, and special libraries.

Check out the report to get a sample of the challenges libraries face for the materials in their collections and the services they provide.

Freedom to Read Week

February 24, 2016


In addition to being Fair Dealing Week, this week is also Freedom to Read Week in Canada.  Freedom to Read Week is organized every year by the Book and Periodical Council to “encourage Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is guaranteed them under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

To celebrate, this is a good week to read a banned or challenged work.  Not sure what those are? Here are a couple of lists to get you started:

Celebrate Freedom to Read Week

February 25, 2013

Freedom to Read Week is “an annual event  that encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is guaranteed them under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”  It’s organized every year by The Book and Periodical Council, which is “the umbrella organization for writing and publishing in Canada,” and is endorsed and supported by the Canadian Library Association.

In recognition of Freedom to Read Week 2011, we offered lists of banned or challenged books which are available at RDC Library.  Take a look – you might be surprised by some of the titles on the list.   Or go one step further and borrow one!

Check out further reading and ideas for celebrating by searching the Intellectual Freedom and Censorship categories on this blog.

Happy Freedom to Read Week!

Santa 2.0

September 24, 2012

Just in time for the Christmas decorations to start going up in stores, news came out last week that a new version of The Night Before Christmas is being released.

In this revised version, all references to Santa having a pipe or smoking have been removed, so that they do not offend modern children or encourage them to take up smoking.

The new book has met with criticism from a number of different groups, who object to modern revisions of classic literature to remove now offensive content.  A similar debate arose last year over news that a revised version of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was going to be released.

Take a look at the article, and then let us know what you think.  Do you prefer your Santa old-school, or are you excited about the new Santa 2.0?

Why Google doesn’t tell you everything . . .

June 20, 2012

Perusing a book catalogue recently, I came across a book called Tankograd – The Formation of a Soviet Company Town:  Cheliabinsk, 1900s-1950s.  Thinking it might be a good present for my history buff father, I did some “Googling” for Cheliabinsk. I was astonished to spot a link to a documentary about how Cheliabinsk (or Chelyabinsk) is “THE MOST CONTAMINATED SPOT ON THE PLANET.” How had I never heard of it?

Looking more closely at my search results, I was puzzled.  There was the ubiquitous Wikipedia article, the inflammatory documentary, then some tourist sites and hotel ads.  But not a whole lot about environmental devastation.

Then, moving to page 2, I came across an article about SEO or “search engine optimization.”

Search engine optimization is used in marketing to manipulate results rankings, so (for example) one business offering a particular service can appear higher or more frequently in a search engine’s output.  However, if that business has received much bad press that will appear more frequently also.  “SEO professionals” try to improve the image of a business by deliberately influencing the indexing and ranking systems to try to get the good ahead of the bad.

Evidently, the Russians, concerned that the fuss about extensive nuclear contamination was hindering tourism and investment, paid thousands of dollars to consultants to massage the area’s online profile to downplay the negativity.

In all fairness, no one really knew much of what was going on at Cheylabinsk at all until recently, as it was a “closed city” until 1992.  However, by manipulating search engines, the Russian authorities can continue to keep people from finding out.  What else isn’t Google telling you?

If you’re wondering where Wikipedia is on Wednesday…

January 17, 2012

…they’re planning to take part in an online blackout campaign intended to protest two pieces of proposed legislation in the United States: the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).

According to BBC News, the Globe and Mail, and Silicon Republic, the bills have been quite controversial.  Proponents of the legislation argue it will stop the widespread theft of intellectual property on the Internet.  Those against the legislation suggest it threatens free speech and worry that it will hurt investment in online business.

You can check out Wikipedia during the blackout for more information: the plan is to leave articles on the legislation and the controversy available for reading.

Looking for background information on another topic but can’t get it from Wikipedia?  Check out the Background Information tab on any of the Library’s subject guides.

Freedom to Read

February 25, 2010

February 21-27 is Freedom to Read Week.  It’s a reminder that censorship is still very much alive and well here in Canada – just last October, for instance, a parent challenged the presence of To Kill A Mockingbird in Toronto public schools.

In honour of Freedom to Read Week, take a look at a brief history of book bannings and burnings, browse through a list of books and magazines that have been challenged in recent decades, and consider Freeing a Challenged Book.

Right to Know Week

October 2, 2007

Right to Know Week in Canada
September 28 to October 5, 2007

Around the world, September 28 is celebrated as International Right to Know Day. This began in Sofia, Bulgaria, at an international meeting of access to information advocates who proposed that September 28th be dedicated to the promotion of freedom of information worldwide. The goal is to raise citizens’ awareness level about their right of access to information under the control of government institutions. These celebrations are aimed towards the citizenry, a non specialized clientele.”

For more information, visit the Right to Know site of the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada.