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Freedom to Read 2017

Feb 26 – Mar 4

What is Freedom to Read?

Toronto Public Library is celebrating Freedom to Read Week, an annual event that encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom and the protection of privacy.

By providing universal access to knowledge, ideas and opinions, public libraries are a true force for democracy. This is truer than ever in today's information age.

Seventy percent of Torontonians use the library regularly, borrowing more than 30 million items every year and attending thousands of programs that give people uncensored access to a wide variety of topics, beliefs and opinions.

Upcoming events


Intellectual Freedom in the Surveillance Age

Mon Feb 27, 2017
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Toronto Reference Library
Hinton Learning Theatre


Uncensored Writing Workshop

Wed Mar 1, 2017
7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Social Media

AMA on Reddit

Wed Mar 1, 2017
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Toronto Reference Library

Letter from City Librarian Vickery Bowles

How libraries preserve democracy

Intellectual freedom is the foundation of a democratic society.

Challenged materials in Toronto

Books, magazines, newspapers and other materials are challenged and banned in Canada and around the world all the time. Each challenge seeks to limit public access to materials in schools, libraries or bookstores.

Here's a sample of challenges we've received over the years. Click to read about why the title was contested and what happened:

#BannedBooks challenge

Name the banned book

You'll never guess some of the titles that have been challenged over the years. Or will you? Check out our Instagram or follow us on Facebook to test your knowledge. Starts Feb 26.

Intellectual freedom at TPL

Every year, Torontonians borrow more than 30 million items and attend thousands of programs that give people uncensored access to a wide variety of topics, beliefs and opinions.

We also have more than 1,800 public computers and offer unaltered Internet access in support of intellectual freedom. Only dedicated children's computers have filters.

How does the library select materials?

What if I have a concern about library materials?

Librarians write

More resources

Freedom to Read Week is organized nationally by the Freedom of Expression Committee of the Book and Periodical Council. Visit for more information.