Freedom to Read Week

Posted on February 23, 2011. Filed under: Recommended Reading | Tags: , |

Family Day gave us a 3 day weekend, much appreciated extra time at home, one week after getting our new puppy. When not out for a walk, correcting naughty behaviour, or providing lots of hugs (in keeping with Cesar Millan the Dog Whisperer’s triumvirate: exercise, discipline, affection — in that order), I was glued to the second and third books of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy. I picked up a copy of The Hunger Games at Perfect Books (what a marvelous bookstore! A modest inventory in a limited space, but much care had obviously gone into selection, and staff had provided thoughtful and compelling shelf talkers to attract the browser to  titles that might otherwise go unnoticed) on Elgin Street in Ottawa two weeks ago, and devoured it in 2 days. Bought Catching Fire and Mockingjay at Woodstock’s Merrifield Books last week.  Donated all 3 books to Oxford County Library’s collection, which should help reduce the waiting time for those eager to read a Youth Fiction trilogy that should give the Twilight books a run for their money.

What’s the connection between The Hunger Games and Freedom to Read Week? The Hunger Games trilogy is a fast-paced, white-knuckle adventure set in a dystopian future world. Two Tributes from each District must compete to the death in an “arena”, for the amusement (?) of the populace watching all the action on their TVs. Think “The Truman Show” as blood sport.

Thinking back on the dystopian novels I have read and enjoyed seems an appropriate activity during Freedom to Read Week. Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 has no equal, perhaps.

When you click on the Hunger Games link above, it will take you to our catalogue record for that book. Below, you will see recommended reading and links to other authors who write in a similar vein to Collins. This catalogue feature (Novelist Plus) is handy for reading more about genres, identifying the titles in a series, and to get ideas of what to read next.

Visit the Freedom to Read Week website.  Consider some of the titles included on “Banned Books” lists. Read them. Be grateful you can.

I strongly recommend The Hunger Games trilogy, and would suggest that you read it before the movie comes out in 2012.


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Freedom to Read Week

Posted on February 19, 2010. Filed under: Events | Tags: , |

February 21 – 27 is Freedom to Read Week, organized by the Book and Periodical Council of Canada. 

The role and, indeed, the responsibility of public libraries in Canada with regard to this issue is put forth in the CLA (Canadian Library Association) Statement on Intellectual Freedom.  Many library boards, including Oxford County Library Board, have formally adopted this Statement.

It is the right of any person to object to materials in a library collection. Freedom of expression works both ways, and when expression results in dialogue, we can learn from each other. A fine example of this exercise is embodied in The Human Library, a movement that began in Denmark in 2000. Originally called the Living Library, it faced a copyright challenge for the name, thus the change to Human Library.  London Public Library will be hosting three Human Library activities on March 20. What is the Human Library? It is an opportunity to “borrow” a Living Book  and engage in informal conversation with that person, helping to break down stereotypes and prejudices.  I attended the Human Library event at Marys Public Library on October 23, 2009, and enjoyed meeting some of the “Books”, each of which represented a different label, stereotype, or prejudice. One was entitled “A Behind the Scenes Look at Fashion” (a professional model and stylist); another was “Positively Motivational” (an HIV positive musician turned public speaker).  Kudos to St. Marys PL for putting on such an interactive and positive event. 

St. Marys Public Library, Oct. 23, 2009

If you’re interested in learning more about censorship and banned books, the Freedom to Read Week website includes a link to the “Free a Challenged Book” activity.  Pelham Public Library has developed a superb site — their Fahrenheit 451: Freedom to Read program.

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