It is “freedom to read” month – Literally Yours

There are four fundamental freedoms for every Canadian that can be found in this country’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms: freedom of conscience and religion; freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; freedom of peaceful assembly; and freedom of association.

Of these four freedoms, the one that is of the utmost importance to the Stettler Public Library is the freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression.

It is this premise that is the Canadian Library Association subscripted to when its members developed the CLA’s Position Statement on Intellectual Freedom. It states:

“All persons in Canada have the fundamental right, as embodied in the nation’s Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to have access to all expressions of knowledge, creativity and intellectual activity, and to express their thoughts publicly. This right to intellectual freedom, under the law, is essential to the health and development of Canadian society.”

“Libraries have a basic responsibility for the development and maintenance of intellectual freedom.”

It is this position statement that the Stettler Public Library follows for its selection process for new materials.

The library endeavours to maintain a wellrounded collection that will keep everyone informed and entertained.

For the incidents in which there is a challenge, the person making the complaint will be asked to file a formal challenge. The librarian will then prepare a complete re-evaluation of the material in question and the patron will then be notified of the results promptly. A copy of the complaint will be sent to the Books and Periodical Council of Canada who keeps track of all challenges to library materials in Canada.

The number of book challenges has almost quadrupled in Canada since 2006 when the Canadian Library Association started compiling an annual list of challenged books.

For a complete list of challenged books for 2009, visit the Freedom to Read website at http://www.freedomtoread.ca/

February is Freedom to Read Month at the Stettler Public Library with the official week being February 20-26, 2011. The Library would love your help celebrate this important month. We ask you to stop in and decorate a bird with a word of your choosing. This bird will then be “released” into the Library for all to see. This is a month of reflection about what words truly mean to each individual and how they influence our lives.