Friday, February 29, 2008

Freedom to Watch?

Sometimes we focus a lot on books and other printed materials, but librarians also deal with a lot of video and other multimedia. Recent developments regarding tax credits for film productions here in Canada are worth noting, as the potential for censorship on the part of government is disturbing.

"Tories plan to withhold funding for 'offensive' productions" from the Globe and Mail.
Artists call Tory plan to vet films 'censorship'" from CBC Arts.
"Evangelist takes credit for film crackdow
n" from the Globe and Mail.

We will watch how this develops with interest.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Freedom to read according to UofA Express News

The University of Alberta's ExpressNews has posted an article about Freedom to Read week. The reporter mentions the Canadian Library Association's Survey of Challenged materials in Canadian Libraries (see previous post for more details) and talks to UofA's own Dr Toni Samek and Dr. Alvin Schrader. There is also a link to a video created by School of Library and Information Science student Tanya Driechel, who looks at literacy and information access issues in marginalized populations (such as those in developing countries). 

Mid-week update

Mid-week, and the FLIF table in HUB has been hopping. There have been a lot of questions about why we're there and what we're doing. Our display is rearranged daily and continues to draw the interest of passers-by. If you're in the area, be sure to come by and say hello, to share your thoughts, or just to check out some of our challenged/banned books. If you're only able to visit us on the web, leave a comment or send us an email.

Also, the CLA has recently released the results of the latest Survey of Challenged Materials in Canadian Libraries (2007). See the press release online here, and follow the links on the page to the downloadable .pdf of the survey results.

Stay tuned for more information.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What's been challenged

Curious to know what books have been banned or challenged? Here are some lists:
  1. Freedom to Read has compiled a list of challenged books in Canada.  It includes reasons why the books were banned and what the outcome was. Some of the books in the list include a book on colour psychology, the popular novel "Snow Falling on Cedars", an award winning French novel based on the author's experiences in World War II, and the classis "To Kill a Mockingbird.
  2. The American Library Association's list of the most challenged books of 2006 (hey, it takes time to compile these lists). It includes the "Gossip Girls" series (now a TV series) and Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eyes"
  3. You can also check out this old post from Bookslut which lists some challeneged books and why they have been challenged. It includes the children's book "And Tango Makes Three", another Toni Morrison book ("The Beloved"), and J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. 

Monday, February 25, 2008

Censored news

Books and movies aren't the only things that maybe challenged or censored. Here are the top 25 censored news stories of 2006-2007 according to Project Censored, a media research group out of Sonoma State University that strives to highlight censorship in the news.

This years list includes:
  • #25 Who Will Profit from Native Energy?
  • #20 Terror Act Against Animal Activists
  • #16 No Hard Evidence Connecting Bin Laden to 9/11
  • #12 Another Massacre in Haiti by UN Troops
  • #5 Human Traffic Builds US Embassy in Iraq
  • #2 Bush Moves Toward Martial Law

Fight for your right to read

Here's a great article about freedom to read: Canadians fighting for their right to read. It talks about challenged books and challenges may be resolved in some public library (note that this is not about the Edmonton Public Library and the EPL may handle cases a bit differently).

Book donations for the Bissell Centre and Women's Prison (updated)

Through out Freedom to Read Week, FLIF (partnered with the Greater Edmonton Library Association) will be collecting donations of gently used books at our table in the HUB. The books will be donated to the Bissell Centre, a non-profit organization that helps people with low incomes.

Help make a difference by bringing in a few books!

Thanks for the comment, Kirsten. The book drive will benefit both the Bissell Centre AND the library at the Edmonton Institution for Women. More on the book drive and contact information can be found on the GELA book drive webpage.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Honouring Freedom to Read Week with art

Students from the Forest Heights Collegiate Institute created sculpted works of art using discarded books and they are being displayed in the Forest Heights Community Library (Kitchener, ON). See here for the full story.

Freedom to Read Week

This week is Freedom to Read Week, a week long event created to encourage us to think about intellectual freedom (which is guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms) and censorship. For more information, visit the Freedom to Read web-site.

From the web-site:

"Canadians often take our freedom to read for granted, but it's a right that regularly comes under fire," says Emily Sinkins, Chair of the Freedom of Expression Committee. "Whenever books are removed from school library shelves or journalists are silenced by the threat of legal action, we're reminded how important it is to fight for the free exchange of ideas between writers and readers."

During Freedom to Read Week, the BPC urges Canadians to use their right to choose what they read and to celebrate Canadians who fight to protect that right from would-be censors.

For more information, look for the Future Librarians for Intellectual Freedom table in the Hub this week. Come and see some of the books that have been challenged and learn more about the importance of intellectual freedom.

You can also check out the Facebook event page from Freedom to Read Week.