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Three Ways to Celebrate Freedom to Read Week

Even in 2018, books are still being challenged and facing formal attempts of removal from schools and libraries. Freedom to Read Week, running from Sunday, February 25 to Saturday, March 3, 2018, is an annual event encouraging Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Here are three ways Calgarians can participate:

1. Pick up a Challenged Book
On Monday, Feburary 26, Bill Ptacek, Calgary Public Library CEO, will launch Freedom to Read Week in Calgary by presenting Mayor Naheed Nenshi and City Council with a copy of This One Summer. Written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by her cousin Jillian Tamaki, the award-winning graphic novel is a coming of age story set in Ontario’s cottage country about two preteen friends.

This One Summer was named the most challenged book in 2016 by the American Library Association. The book includes LGBT characters, drug use and profanity, and is considered sexually explicit with mature themes. School libraries in Florida and Minnesota have removed the book from shelves, a move protested by free-speech groups.

2. Celebrate Rebel Readers
On Monday, February 26, from 5:30 to 7 pm, join us for Freedom to Read Week activities at Memorial Park Library. Discover an assortment of “rebel” activities on the Main Floor, including banned books trivia and mugshots, readings from censored LGBTQ content by local drag queen royalty, and a curated collection of books and videos from the Calgary Outlink LGBTQ Library and Fairy Tales Presentation Society. Ages 16 and up. Doors open at 5 pm. The collection will be on display until Sunday, March 4.

Then, from 7 to 8 pm, Wordfest, the Writers’ Guild of Alberta, and Calgary Public Library are teaming up to present a surprise, incendiary program on This One Summer. Head to the Second Floor for a discussion about the censorship and controversy surrounding Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki’s This One Summer. Anne Logan, of the website I’ve Read This, hosts the discussion.

3. Flaunt Banned Books
Shop the Calgary Public Library Foundation’s Library Store and flaunt banned books. Put a sock in censorship with banned books socks, pour your favourite hot drink into the banned books mug and watch as banned book titles begin to appear, stay warm with a banned books scarf, and brighten up your restricted reading section with a banned books matchbox set. Plus, every purchase through librarystore.ca supports the essential work of Calgary Public Library and enhances programs, services, and collections.

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