Freedom to Read; Obligation to Read

As Freedom to Read Week comes to an end, it bears considering that the freedom to read means nothing if citizens don’t exercise that that freedom.

โ€œThe man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.โ€

Source: Unknown*

The rights and freedoms of Canadians include the right to read what you want to read. Such rights and freedoms are fundamental to democracy. Yet there are forces at work in our society that seek power by attaching your rights, including attempts to censor or limit your freedom to read.

Authoritarian forces and totalitarian states know that uneducated and illiterate citizens are easier to control and oppress. Such forces can only celebrate that the work is much simpler when significant portions of the population choose not to read. Censorship becomes less pressing when “aliteracy” becomes prevalent.

A true democracy guarantees fundamental rights and freedoms to its citizens. But to work effectively, indeed, to survive, democracy requires that citizens exercise those rights. In particular, democracy breaks down if citizens aren’t educated, informed and active.

The rise of powerful new information technology in the last few decades has made it more important than ever that citizens are highly “information literate.” Citizens must not only have access to information, they must have the tools required to wade through increasingly destructive levels of misinformation, disinformation, propaganda, and outright lies. Citizens need to have access to information that is credible, accurate and trustworthy.

The rise of anti-intellectualism and anti-science movements, perhaps most recently represented by anti-vax conspiracies, are part of the wider breakdown of democratic institutions. There is little doubt that attacks on public education over many years have reaped some these results and are integral to the rise of authoritarianism.

It is not enough to celebrate the Freedom to Read. As citizens of democratic societies, we have an obligation to exercise our Freedom to Read, in part so that we are equipped to defend our democratic rights and freedoms.

It is clear that democracy is under attack, throughout the world, and in our back yard. We must act.

Note* The above quote, or variations on it, are often popularly attributed to Mark Twain. However the original source of this quote, or its variations, remains unclear.

Freedom to Read Week

Freedom to Read Week celebrates your freedom to read what you choose to read.

These books have all been challenged.

These books have been challenged in Canada

A challenge means that at some point in Canada, someone or some group has said that you shouldn’t be reading these books in school, or borrowing them from libraries, or in some cases, even buying them from stores.

These books have all been challenged.

So have these books

Freedom to Read Week is a chance to celebrate your freedom to read what you choose to read. It is also a time to reflect on the ongoing battle to protect that freedom. What better way to celebrate Freedom to Read Week, and to exercise your rights and freedoms, than to read a book– maybe even one of these.

Find out more about books that have been challenged in Canada:

Freedom to Read Week

Your Freedom to Read is protected by Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Your Freedom to Read is also in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Find out more:

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Freedom to Read Week

February 21 to 27 is Freedom to Read Week in Canada in 2021.  Come down to the School Library to find out more.  We have a display of books and other resources related to our freedom to read, our right to have access to information, and our responsibility to exercise those rights and freedoms as informed, free-thinking citizens. 

Freedom to Read Week 2021

Along with our in person display of books, magazines, audiobooks, playaways and more, we will will also feature online resources, such as ebooks, digital audiobooks, online databases, and more, so be sure to check out our site,

You can also click here to find out more about Freedom to Read Week.

School Library FAQ 4

School Library FAQ 4: “Can I borrow magazines?”

Click on “Leave a Comment” below to share your answer. Check back for a future School Library FAQ to see our answer. We will also have a new question or two for you.

In School Library FAQ 3 we asked, โ€œCan I print in the library?โ€

The short answer is, yes, you can print in the library.

We have a printing station by the front entrance, on your right as you enter the school library. You will need to observe the following procedures:

  1. Wear a mask
  2. Sanitize your hands.
  3. One person at a time. If you are waiting, please wait outside the doors.
  4. You will need to know your district username and password to log on to the computer.
  5. Please have a print-ready document or other item ready to go before you log on. If you still need to work on something, please do it on a different computer.
  6. Log off when you are finished.
  7. Sanitize the key board and mouse. There will be a spray bottle of sanitizer and paper towels nearby. Spray a towel with the sanitizer (do not soak the towel and do not spray directly onto the equipment.) Gently wipe down any surfaces you used.

Please be responsible with your printing choices. Before printing, we ask that you consider these questions: Do I really need to print? How do minimize the amount of paper that I use? Are there alternatives to printing that I should consider?

Use the site menu or click here to go to our site FAQ page to see other Frequently Asked Questions.

Fat Tuesday

February 16, 2021 is Fat Tuesday, also known by such names as Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day or Mardi Gras. Traditionally the Christian liturgical calendar includes Lent, a roughly 40 day period of fasting and other rituals in preparation for Easter. Lent begins Ash Wednesday and many observe lent by giving up certain foods or luxuries. The final day before Lent begins, people will enjoy a final night of indulgence, often with a feast of rich, fatty and sweet foods, such as pancakes– hence the various names for the day. In many places, especially traditionally Catholic areas, an extended festival takes place, often over many days or weeks. The most famous examples of this include Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and Carnival in Rio de Janeiro,

source: I (Potesara), CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons

Lunar New Year

The Lunar New Year is observed on February 12, and multiday, even multiweek festivals begin around the world today. The celebrations around this event include many different local practices and are known by many names around the world, including the Spring Festival; the Lantern Festival, Tsagaan Sar (Mongolia); Tet (Vietnam); Seolial (Korea); Koshogatsu or “Little New Year” (Japan); Chinese New Year (mainly in North America). People in Canada, especially people of East Asian descent, will join with people around the world to celebrate new year and look forward to the Year of the Ox.

source: pattawin

The lunar calendar, based on the cycles of the moon, does not match up with the solar calendar, based on the orbit of the earth around the sun. Therefore holidays based on the lunar calendar will change dates from year to year on the Gregorian Calendar, the solar calendar most commonly used by Canadians and people around the world for most scheduling related to business, politics and science, if not cultural and religious observances.

Find out more about Lunar New Year:

What is Lunar New Year?

Chinese New Year in Canada

Korean New Year

Chinese New Year


Black History Month

Come down to the School Library to check out our display for Black History Month. We have books and other library resources related to the history of black people in Canada, the USA and throughout the world of the “African Diaspora.”

Here are some of the titles:

School Library FAQ 3

School Library FAQ 3: “Can I print in the library?”

Click on “Leave a Comment” below to share your answer. Check back for a future School Library FAQ to see our answer. We will also have a new question or two for you.

In School Library FAQ 2 we asked, “How do I borrow a book? Where do I go and what do I need?”

When you come to the School Library and find a book that you want to borrow, head to the Circulation Desk. This is the main counter near the front doors. The Teacher Librarian or another member of the Library Team will be there to assist you– if nobody is there, you will need to say (in a LOUD voice), “I need help!” You might need to continue to ask for help until a Library Team member comes to the desk to assist you.

When directed to do so, you will use the self-checkout station to scan your library card (student id card.) Then you will scan the library barcode on the book. If everything is in order, congratulations, you have successfully borrowed the book!

If you have any overdue books, unpaid fines, or if you are over your limit, you won’t be able to borrow any more books until you sort out the issues. If you have questions about any of those things, you will need to talk with the Teacher Librarian.

You have most books and other materials for three weeks. If you still want to keep the book longer than that, you can usually renew the book for as long as you need to.

You can also borrow books without even physically entering the library! Go here to read about how to place holds and even get books delivered to you.

Use the site menu or click here to go to our site FAQ page to see other Frequently Asked Questions.

Black History Month


February is Black History Month. Join us in the School Library as we explore, acknowledge and celebrate Black History, with an emphasis on the experience of Canadians of African descent, African-Americans and other peoples in the world-wide African diaspora.

Find out more:

Heritage Canada: Black History Month

Black History Month in BC

Library and Archives Canada

CBC: 23 historical black Canadians you should know

The Canadian Encyclopedia: Black History in Canada

Government of Canada

PBS: Black History Month

O Magazine: Black History Month


3rd Quarter

Welcome to the 3rd Quarter of the 2020-2021 School Year. We look forward to continuing to serve you in these next weeks, as we support you with your learning both in and out of the classroom. We want to continue to support recreational reading. Book browsing, selection and circulation remain at the top of our priorities. We have much more limited in-person capacity, but we continue to offer many online services. Either way, please be sure to make use of of the School Library.

Wikimedia-CC Henrykus

Here are a few reminders about some of the policies and procedures that have changed in the School Library this year, as adaptations for dealing with Covid-19.

  1. All visitors to the School Library must wear masks and sanitize hands upon entering. (It is highly recommended you do so again when leaving.)
  2. No food or drink allowed in School Library.
  3. We have a new system for placing HOLDS and optional DELIVERY. Go here for more information.
  4. Students who visit the library during class hours must either have a teacher’s note or (preferred) come at a time previously booked by the classroom teacher.
  5. We have a limited capacity for students to visit us outside of their class hours: 7:50 to 8:35 and 2:05 to 2:45.

If you have any questions about COVID-19 protocols, or questons about how we can best serve you, please send a message to: