October is Canadian Library Month!

>>From the Canadian Library Month website, a project of the Canadian Library Association

Canada’s libraries make a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals and in our communities. They help to inspire Canadians to celebrate our culture, to advance universal and equitable access to information, to support lifelong learning and to document and preserve our heritage for generations to come. In October, the inspiration created in and by libraries will be celebrated during Canadian Library Month with the theme “Libraries Inspire!”.

The products of inspiration takemanyforms. Libraries are a treasure trove of these creations and testify to the ingenuity of the human spirit. Scientific discoveries, philosophy, music, business innovation, popular culture and more all find a home within the physical and digital spaces of our collections. But inspiration is also present in more commonplace interactions. A conversation between a librarian and a researcher can take a project in a groundbreaking direction. A library program can ignite the passion of a community to work together and make positive changes. A class visit with school children can encourage an interest in books that will benefit young readers for the rest of their lives. Access to the Internet, and digital literacy training, can open doors to employment opportunities and new career paths.

Today, over 23,000 librarians and library clerks serve in over 22,000 libraries in incredibly diverse communities, from major metropolitan areas to towns and rural hamlets, from research‐intensive universities to colleges of art and design.

Over 21 million Canadians hold a public library card, making public libraries the most popular cultural institution in the country. Over 97 per cent of Canadians live in communities served by a public library, and the library adds to the vitality of every one of these communities. Academic libraries, school libraries and special libraries add immensely to the creativity and personal, professional and academic growth of Canadians, serving everyone from students and faculty to those in the corporate, government and non‐profit sectors.

Libraries have a strong role to play in the present, and they have a great deal to contribute in the future. This October, help us to celebrate not only how Libraries Inspire, but also what they have inspired: a sense of community belonging, the joy of learning, the exhilaration of discovery, a new friendship, or an idea for the next great Canadian novel. Let your community know that inspiration starts here, at the library, in hundreds of ways each day; where it leads has no limits.

CLA releases results of eighth annual survey of challenges to library resources and policies

>>From the Canadian Library Association

(Ottawa, September 15, 2014) – The Canadian Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Advisory Committee has released the results of its eighth annual survey of challenges to library resources and policies in Canada for 2013.

Most Canadians don’t give censorship in libraries a second thought, however a small strata of society would like to dictate which reading, viewing, and listening materials fellow citizens should be allowed to access through their publicly-funded libraries. The 2013 Annual Challenges Survey conducted by the Canadian Library Association (CLA) sheds light on these challenges to materials, services, and policies and how Canadian libraries respond to them.

The 85 challenges reported in the 2013 survey occurred in 21 publicly-funded libraries, almost all public libraries, across six provinces. Some 67 challenges targeted individual library materials and 18 were to library policies related to collections and services that impacted intellectual freedom and collection management principles. Only one series was reported, six television episodes of “Eastbound and Down.” Complainants typically demanded that titles be removed or access to them be restricted.

Survey results are widely shared with the Canadian public, library associations at home and abroad, and other groups interested in freedom of expression issues. The database of challenged titles and policies can be accessed on the CLA website (www.cla.ca) together with annual reports summarizing the results of the surveys.

Find the results here.

Writers’ Trust Announces First Fiction-Prize Shortlists of the Season

>>From the Writers’ Trust of Canada

TORONTO, Oct. 1, 2014 – The Writers’ Trust of Canada revealed this morning the finalists for two major prizes for excellence in Canadian fiction: the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Writers’ Trust/McClelland and Stewart Journey Prize. The announcement was made at Ben McNally Books.

The five finalists for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, recognizing writers of the year’s best novel or short story collection, were announced by Jan Innes, vice president, government relations, Rogers Communications, along with writer and prize juror Helen Humphreys; the three finalists for the Writers’ Trust/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize, recognizing new and developing writers for the best short story first published in a Canadian literary journal during the previous year, were announced by jurors Steven W. Beattie and Craig Davidson.

Both prizes will be presented on November 4 at the Writers’ Trust Awards event in Toronto’s Glenn Gould Studio.

Finalists for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize:

  • André Alexis (Toronto) for PASTORAL, Coach House Books.
  • Steven Galloway (New Westminster, BC) for THE CONFABULIST, Knopf Canada.
  • K.D. Miller (Toronto) for ALL SAINTS, Biblioasis.
  • Carrie Snyder (Waterloo, ON) for GIRL RUNNER, House of Anansi.
  • Miriam Toews (Toronto) for ALL MY PUNY SORROWS, Knopf Canada.

Each of the five finalists will receive $2,500, with the eventual prizewinner receiving a total of $25,000. The finalists were chosen by Neil Bissoondath, Helen Humphreys, and George Murray. They read 127 books from 52 publishers. The prize is sponsored by Rogers Communications Inc.

Finalists for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize will appear at the International Festival of Authors in Burlington, Ontario, October 28 and in Toronto on October 29.

Finalists for the Writers’ Trust/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize:

  • Tyler Keevil (Cheltenham, UK) for “SEALSKIN,” The New Orphic Review.
  • Lori McNulty (Vancouver) for “MONSOON SEASON,” Descant.
  • Clea Young (Vancouver) for “JUVENILE,” The Fiddlehead.

Each of the three finalists will receive $1,000, with the eventual prizewinner receiving a total of $10,000, and the journal that originally published the winning entry receiving $2,000. The finalists were chosen by Steven W. Beattie, Craig Davidson, and Saleema Nawaz. The prize is made possible by James A. Michener’s donation of his Canadian royalty earnings from his 1988 novel Journey. In association with the prize, McClelland & Stewart will publish the 2014 edition of the annual fiction anthology The Journey Prize Stories, a collection of the 13 stories that formed the longlist for this year’s prize.

About the Writers’ Trust
The Writers’ Trust of Canada is a charitable organization that seeks to advance, nurture, and celebrate Canadian writers and writing through a portfolio of programs, including ten national literary awards, financial grants, scholarships, and a writers’ retreat. Writers’ Trust programming is designed to champion excellence in Canadian writing, to improve the status of writers, and to create connections between writers and readers. Canada’s writers receive more financial support from the Writers’ Trust than from any other non-governmental organization or foundation in the country. For more information visit writerstrust.com.

About the Writers’ Trust Awards event
An annual event awarding $139,000 to Canadian writers, the Writers’ Trust Awards evening is one of the richest prize-giving nights in Canada. Jared Bland, arts editor, The Globe and Mail, will emcee this year’s festivities in Toronto on November 4, 2014. Four additional prizes for a body of work will be presented at the ceremony – including the inaugural Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize:

  • Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize ($25,000)
  • Matt Cohen Award: In Celebration of a Writing Life ($20,000)
  • Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People ($20,000)
  • Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award ($25,000)

The Writers’ Trust Awards are made possible through generous support from corporate, foundation, and individual sponsors. As a media partner, The Globe and Mail provides additional support. The project is partially funded by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage Canada Book Fund.

Finalists Announced for the 2014 Canadian Children’s Book Centre Awards

>>From the Canadian Children’s Book Centre

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is excited to announce the finalists for its seven major children’s book awards:

  • TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award ($30,000)
  • Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award ($20,000)
  • Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction ($10,000)
  • Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People ($5,000)
  • John Spray Mystery Award ($5,000)
  • Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy ($5,000)

The winners will be announced at the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Awards and Prix TD de littérature canadienne pour l’enfance et la jeunesse – two invitation-only gala events in Toronto on November 6 and Montreal on October 28. Overall, $130,000 in prize monies will be awarded.

The nominated books exemplify some of the very best work by Canadian authors and illustrators. The Canadian Children’s Book Centre is proud to share these titles and the juries’ notes with you.

This year, TD is once again partnering with CBC Books to present the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Fan Choice Award. Young people across Canada are encouraged to vote for their favourite book online at CBCBooks.ca, starting on September 18, 2014. One lucky voter will be selected to win a trip to Toronto to meet their favourite author/illustrator and to present the award at the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award gala event on November 6, 2014.
Find the full list of nominees in the official press release on the CCBC website.

The Writers’ Union of Canada: public statement on Amazon-Hachette dispute

>>From The Writers’ Union of Canada website.

The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) calls on both main players in the negotiation between online retailer Amazon.com and book publisher Hachette Book Group to work in good faith toward an immediate resolution of their protracted and damaging disagreement. As it stands, individual authors are caught in the crossfire, and are seeing incomes and potential future earnings severely damaged.

It’s clear there are two well-defined sides to choose from in this ongoing disagreement – in favour of Amazon’s relatively new pricing/royalties design and a promising digital marketplace for all authors (both publisher-affiliated and independent), or in favour of traditional publishers like Hachette Book Group who have seen online sales unreasonably curtailed for the purposes of negotiation (a reprehensible tactic that does nothing more than hurt authors).

TWUC chooses a third side – that of the full spectrum of today’s professional authors. Simply put, neither Amazon.com nor Hachette Book Group would exist without the work of professional authors.

TWUC’s position on e-book royalties is on the record – we believe the current industry standard of 25% does not reflect a marketplace reality, and TWUC’s Royalty Math calculatorclearly shows the publisher/author partnership on e-book sales would be more equitably represented at a 50% royalty rate. We call upon all traditional publishers to address this inequity immediately.

On the other hand, restrictions to online sales, the removal of purchased links and other such widely reported hardline negotiation tactics are abhorrent, and represent, we believe, attacks on the free market and free speech. On this issue, TWUC stands with independent booksellers who have stated “Independent booksellers sell books from all publishers. Always.”

All authors, those housed at large publishers, those at medium and small houses, and those professionally self-published through an expanding universe of online services – all of us – benefit from an industry that contains and sustains both traditional publishing and Amazon.com. As well, all of us suffer when large players in the marketplace restrict access to books, refuse to compromise on terms, and ignore market realities.

Forbes magazine has recently predicted the Amazon.com-Hachette Book Group dispute could stretch into 2015. That is unacceptable. The Writers’ Union of Canada joins with author groups worldwide in demanding an immediate resolution. Authors who have worked for years to bring their books to market in the coming months should not suffer because two giants refuse to come to terms with each other.

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