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CFLA-FCAB Celebrates Freedom to Read Week and Champions Free Expression
February 25, 2019

The Canadian Federation of Library Associations/Fédération canadienne des associations de bibliothèques (CFLA-FCAB) is pleased to support Freedom to Read Week (February 24 to March 2). This annual event encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is guaranteed them under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  

Intellectual freedom is a fundamental value for libraries. The Canadian Federation of Library Associations affirms that libraries have a responsibility to defend and value intellectual freedom. CFLA-FCAB’s Statement on Intellectual Freedom and Libraries reads in part:

Libraries have a core responsibility to safeguard and facilitate access to constitutionally protected expressions of knowledge, imagination, ideas, and opinion, including those which some individuals and groups consider unconventional, unpopular or unacceptable.

Libraries provide, defend and promote equitable access to the widest possible variety of expressive content and resist calls for censorship and the adoption of systems that deny or restrict access to resources.

CFLA-FCAB Intellectual Freedom Committee

CFLA-FCAB is proud to announce that its Intellectual Freedom Committee has been following its mandate to advocate for the value of intellectual freedom in Canada and to develop policies, guidelines, and reports to inform Canadians on the importance of intellectual freedom.  This committee has developed its terms of reference and has a draft work plan for the coming year.

Thanks to the Intellectual Freedom Committee CFLA-FCAB has adopted the IFLA Code of Ethics statement and is encouraging libraries and library organizations to consider doing the same.

2018 National Forum

The Canadian Federation of Library Associations — Fédération canadienne des associations de bibliothèques convened its 1st National Forum in conjunction with the Saskatchewan Library Association (SLA) May 1-2, 2018.

An important discussion during the National Forum was entitled Intellectual Freedom – Sustaining a Core Value. Below is a short summary.

Intellectual freedom has long been recognized as one of librarianship’s core values. It is the underpinning of access to information, relates to the concept of academic freedom that is regularly being challenged within universities, and is semantic to journalism’s freedom of the press. Is the role played by libraries on intellectual freedom changing? Ideally, what should this role be? Can – and should – libraries be neutral? Work with the speakers and with your colleagues from across Canada to address these and other questions and help refine the agenda for actions the associations and every library must take. Please visit the CFLA-FCAB website at http://cfla-fcab.ca/en/meetings/national-forum-2018/ for more information.

Intellectual Freedom Challenges Survey – Please Participate!

Has your library experienced any challenges to materials, resources, services, or policies? Challenges include disputes about Internet access, meeting rooms, speakers, library displays, exhibitions, or other matters that would prevent or restrict access to titles, collections, services, or other resources.

CFLA-FCAB undertook the management of the annual Challenges Survey, and tool previously managed by CLA. This survey collects information related challenges to intellectual freedom in Canada.

Historical practice has been to open the survey once a year for respondents to complete the challenges received in the previous year.

In 2018, CFLA-FCAB agreed to adopt ALA’s practice and will leave the survey tool open at all times so that individuals may be able to report challenges as they occur. We hope that this will incur greater participation.

The survey can be found here. Please be sure to bookmark this link for easy access.

Thank you for participating in this important national work.

Donna Bowman and Katherine McColgan have written a Freedom to Read article based on the data collected for the 2017 challenges survey, available in the Book and Periodical Council’s 2019 Freedom to Read Review.


 

Freedom to Read Week is a project of the Book and Periodical Council.

 

Alix-Rae Stefanko
Chair, CFLA-FCAB