Freedom to Read Week 2021

February 21-27

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.

Challenged materials in Toronto

Books, magazines, newspapers and other materials are challenged 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:

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?

Our materials selection policy guides staff in the acquisition of materials that are of current interest and/or lasting value. There may be library materials in our collection of more than 10 million items that you don't like. Tell us about it. Share your concerns with a staff member and, if you're still not satisfied, fill out the form available at every branch. We will investigate and respond to your concerns.

What if I have a concern about library materials?

There may be library materials in our collection of more than 10 million items that you don't like. Tell us about it. Share your concerns with a staff member and, if you're still not satisfied, fill out the form available at every branch. We will investigate and respond to your concerns.

Librarians write

More resources

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