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Explore Your Freedom to Read at Richmond Public Library

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 1:31 PST, Tue February 13, 2024


As part of their commitment to protecting the public's right to freely choose what to read, libraries across Canada including Richmond Public Library (RPL) recognize Freedom to Read Week annually—raising awareness about the impacts of censorship and informing the community about how and why books are challenged. This year, the event takes place from February 18-24. 

Looking to get involved? RPL hosts a variety of initiatives for community members to read, learn and explore various topics: 

  • Explore the library's online collection of some popular books that have been challenged.
  • Browse displays of banned and challenged books. 
  • Attend one of the library's book club meetings, which offer an opportunity to share ideas with other readers, broaden horizons and gain different perspectives. 
  • Gain exposure to a wider variety of books through the library's Your Next Great Read service, where a librarian will make book suggestions tailored to individual reading interests.

Cantonese-speaking community members are also invited to attend an author visit by two Hong Kong authors on February 20, who will be discussing the writing and publishing process for their books, which are presently banned in Hong Kong.

"At Richmond Public Library, we are committed to expanding our community's horizons and understanding. Our goal is to ensure that everyone feels welcome to read, think and believe what they so choose," says Susan Walters, chief librarian. "Intellectual freedom gives people the right to think for themselves. By ensuring equitable access to a diverse collection of over 420,000 digital and physical items, we champion this fundamental right for our community."

Hundreds of mainstream and lesser-known books, movies, magazines and more have been challenged in Canada over the last 41 years. In that time, Richmond Public Library has received, reviewed and resolved 120 customer challenges, including three last year. 

The City of Richmond stands with the library in support of intellectual freedom. The Mayor has issued a proclamation endorsing Freedom to Read Week, available on the library's website and at all library branches. 

Building on the library's commitment to supporting the community's freedom to choose, Richmond Public Library is excited to offer the opportunity to provide input on what the priorities of the library should be and help ensure they reflect the community's diversity for years to come. From spaces to collections, to programs, and so much more, until February 25, Richmond library visitors, newcomers, and everyone in between can share their perspectives at as part of Your Library, Our Future.

To learn more about Freedom to Read Week, visit

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