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Freedom to Read Kit 2015

The Freedom to Read Kit is an annual review of current censorship issues in Canada, featuring provocative news articles, interviews with champions of free speech, and a Get Involved section with activities designed for classroom instruction and discussion.

Celebrate Freedom to Read Week by ordering posters.


“I love my freedom to read whatever I want.” That joyous phrase has been doing its sassy dance in my head since I first saw Franke James’s vibrant illustration for Freedom to Read Week 2015. And I can’t think of a better way to celebrate your freedom to read than to dive into the bounty of articles served up in this year’s Freedom to Read review.

Our writers have tackled some of today’s most challenging free expression issues. You can read about our featured champion of free expression, media lawyer Brian Rogers, the staggering failure of our access-to-information system, secret trade deals, controversy over library collections, imprisoned journalists, book challenges and much more.

You will also learn about an issue that is playing an increasingly significant role in Canadians’ lives: electronic surveillance. Read Bill Kowalski’s sobering account of the extent to which our online activities are being watched. Enjoy Mark Leiren-Young’s mischievous take on the impact of surveillance on writers. Find out what Hilary McLaughlin learned in her review of Julia Angwin’s book Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance. And check out talented high school student Leslie Riahñezas’s helpful guide to protecting your online privacy in the “Get Involved” section.

In addition, journalist Mark Bourrie takes a hard look at the obstacles confronting anyone who attempts to gain access to government information. Groundwood publisher Sheila Barry shares her philosophy and passion for children’s books. And science librarian John Dupuis takes us behind the scenes in Canada’s federal library system.

After you’ve feasted on these stories, we challenge you to take the quiz in the “Get Involved” section to find out how you rate as a free expression expert. Whatever your score, we’ve got lots of resources so you can learn more, get involved and thoroughly celebrate your freedom to read!

— Julie Payne, Editor

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News Bytes
By Franklin Carter and Julie Payne


Brian MacLeod Rogers: Just Cause
By Julie Payne

System Failure: Rejections, Restrictions and Runarounds Obstruct Our Access to Information
By Mark Bourrie

Who’s Really Reading This?
By Mark Leiren-Young

Confessions of a Children’s Book Publisher
By Sheila Barry

Writers Respond
By Nicole Brewer

What’s in a Challenge?
By Reva Pomer and Becky Toyne

The Campaign Against Evidence
By John Dupuis

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Trade Secrets
By A.T. Kingsmith

Front Lines

Our Right to Online Privacy
By William Kowalski

Censorship and the Academic Library: Sex, Violence & Video Games
By Martha Attridge Bufton and Wayne Jones

The Writers’ Union Makes It Official: Reading Is a Right
By John Degen

Journalism Is Not a Crime
By Alexandra Zakreski

Fine Balances and Persistent Tensions: 2013 Survey of Challenges to Resources and Policies in Canadian Libraries
By Alvin M. Schrader and Donna Bowman

Book Profiles: Persona Non Grata; Extreme Mean; Dragnet Nation
By Hilary McLaughlin

2014 Awards
By Nicole Brewer

Get Involved

Celebrate Free Expression

The Canadian Commission for UNESCO Shares a Toolkit

Calgary Public Library’s Freedom to Read Contest Winners

Test Your Free Expression Knowledge

Protect Your Online Privacy

Top 10 Things Teachers Should Tell Students About Social Media Privacy
By Leslie Riahñezas

Word-Search Puzzle

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%image% Credits

Editor: Julie Payne

Consulting Editor: Franklin Carter

Creative Director: Reva Pomer

Poster Illustration: Franke James

Contributors: Martha Attridge Bufton, Sheila Barry, Mark Bourrie, Donna Bowman, Nicole Brewer, Franklin Carter, John Degen, John Dupuis, Wayne Jones, A.T. Kingsmith, William Kowalski, Mark Leiren-Young, Hilary McLaughlin, Julie Payne, Reva Pomer, Leslie Riahñezas, Alvin M. Schrader, Becky Toyne, Alexandra Zakreski