Each year, new challenges are made to books, magazines, and other print materials in Canada. We strive to keep accurate, up-to-date records of challenges to print materials in Canada because we feel it is important to maintain the principles of intellectual freedom.
You can help us collect and distribute such information.
These challenges may occur within school and library jurisdictions, or in the courts, or in bookstores, or at the border where Canada Customs’ agents have the right to block importations of controversial materials. Many of these challenges are dealt with quietly, away from the glare of publicity or any kind of public scrutiny. In some instances, decisions are made to leave books in school classrooms or libraries, despite the pressures brought by individuals or groups. But too often books are removed, and most citizens are unaware of those removals. There is no accurate accounting of all the books — often selected by professional educators — that have been dropped from school curricula or reading lists as a result of pressure from trustees, school board employees, or parents. There is no definitive record of titles that have been removed from public libraries as a result of similar pressures.
With budget cutbacks, professional educators and librarians feel ever more susceptible to pressures from the community in which they work. In such a climate, decisions are made that compromise the essential principles of intellectual freedom. This concern is even greater in the climate of fear engendered by the terrorist attacks on the United States. Our American neighbours already have instituted measures that interfere with the freedoms enunciated in the U.S. Bill of Rights.
You can help us provide more information. When a book is challenged in your school or community, keep track of the way the challenge is met. Clip newspaper and magazine articles dealing with the case. Use the case study form to let us know what happens so we can make future Freedom to Read Kits more useful to you and your colleagues.
In preparing your information, give as complete a history as you can, including full details of the disposition of the case. You don’t need to provide legal or technical information, although the basis on which a challenge is made should be part of your report if possible (e.g., book selection policy, school board ruling, public library regulation, municipal bylaw, etc.).