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A New Partnership for the Next Phase of Freedom to Read Week

We are pleased to announce a new partnership between Library and Archives Canada, the Canadian Urban Library Council, the Ontario Library Association, and the Book and Periodical Council (BPC) that marks a pivotal moment for the future of Freedom to Read Week.

In 2024, Freedom to Read Week will celebrate its 40th anniversary, representing 40 years of dedication to freedom of expression, a fundamental right of all Canadians. Freedom to Read Week, which annually raises awareness about censorship and access to books and magazines, has become a nationwide campaign, uniting readers, writers, publishers, schools, libraries, bookstores, universities, colleges, and other organizations across Canada.

Since its inception, the BPC has been the driving force behind Freedom to Read Week. Along with dedicated volunteers, it has monitored freedom of expression in Canada, curated educational and thought-provoking content, distributed promotional materials, and promoted campaign events. In recent years, the campaign has grown substantially, both in size and significance. This growth has prompted a desire to broaden the campaign’s reach, deepen its impact, and create more long-term stability.

To propel Freedom to Read Week into its next chapter, four influential organizations—Library and Archives Canada, the Canadian Urban Library Council, the Ontario Library Association, and the Book and Periodical Council—have joined forces. Each organization brings to the table unique resources, expertise, and perspectives. Together, they will reinforce the campaign’s mission and drive continued growth in such areas as content creation and programming.

Michelle Arbuckle, Chair of the Book and Periodical Council and Executive Director, Ontario Library Association, expressed her enthusiasm for this new phase: “The importance of intellectual freedom and this campaign cannot be overstated. This collaboration signifies a united stance that freedom of expression is a fundamental right of all Canadians and freedom to read is a vital part of our society. We are eager to be part of a campaign that inspires a renewed commitment to the enduring values of intellectual freedom and the joy of reading.”

Leslie Weir, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, is thrilled with this new collaboration: “In addition to our existing commitment to preserve Canada’s documentary heritage Library and Archives Canada, joining with partners to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Freedom to Read Week fills us with excitement as we work together to ensure the campaign has a bright future. This is an opportunity to join hands with Canadians in reaffirming their commitment to intellectual freedom which is more important than ever.”

Åsa Kachan, Chair, Canadian Urban Libraries Council, champions the value of collaboration: “Across Canada, libraries are on the front line of upholding the freedom to read. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with publishers, bookstores and Library and Archives Canada around this important issue. Together we can uphold access to the broadest array of knowledge, ideas and opinions, something fundamental to our democracy.”

As we look forward to celebrating Freedom to Read Week’s 40th anniversary, we recognize that the campaign’s mission is more crucial than ever. This partnership represents a collective dedication to the principles that lie at the heart of a vibrant and inclusive society. We hope you will join us.

For more information, please contact Anne McClelland, Executive Director, Book and Periodical Council.