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Unlimited Reading

Lorraine Graves   Feb-19-2018

Mary Wilson, who spear-headed Richmond’s Black History Month, treasures books at the Richmond Public Library, all the books.

Photo by Chung Chow

It’s easy to take for granted that Canadians don’t ban books but it’s a freedom that needs to be both appreciated and maintained.

“Even in Canada, our freedom to read can never be taken for granted,” says Susan Koch, Library Board Chair. “Freedom to Read Week is an opportunity for Richmond Public Library (RPL) and the City of Richmond to jointly acknowledge and raise public awareness about the impacts that censorship can have.”



Books, currently studied in local schools, have been and are banned in other countries. Forbidden books, even in some districts of Canada and the US include George Orwell’s cautionary tale 1984, the novel set in our region—Snow Falling on Cedars, and a picture book about a penguin family And Tango Makes Three.

According to Stephanie Vokey the coordinator of marketing public relations for RPL, “By acknowledging this event each year, Richmond Public Library continues to shine a spotlight on the importance of freedom of information and the rights of individuals to choose what they want to read, view and listen to. The library is committed to raising public awareness of the issues surrounding censorship and how it affects people of all ages and backgrounds.”

The library is responsive to community needs. If there is a book of interest not in our system, readers can inquire to see if the librarians would consider purchasing it for everyone to read.

Libraries in Canada offer free access to books and so much more. In Richmond’s libraries, you have access to computers, English classes, periodicals and newspapers, DVDs, a set of 3D printers complete with an artist technical advisor, and a host of other opportunities such as online books and magazines.

“The library will mark this important event with displays of banned and challenged books at each of the branches. As always, the library provides community members with free access to a wide range of materials in a variety of formats, and librarians are always available to offer advice on age-appropriate books and other resources,” according to Vokey.

In this country, libraries are funded by local governments as well as depending our donations and late fees.

Mayor Malcolm Brodie has issued an official proclamation endorsing Freedom to Read Week Feb. 25 to March 3, 2018. Our library will mark this important event with displays of banned and challenged books at each of the branches.

To check out our library’s panoply of opportunities, cut and paste

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