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News Release: A New Partnership for the Next Phase of Freedom to Read Week

News Release: A New Partnership for the Next Phase of Freedom to Read Week

January 10, 2024

From the Book and Periodical Council (BPC)

A New Partnership for the Next Phase of Freedom to Read Week

January 5, 2024

We are pleased to announce a new partnership between Library and Archives Canada, the Canadian Urban Library Council, the Ontario Library Association, and the Book and Periodical Council that marks a pivotal moment for the future of Freedom to Read Week.

Freedom to Read Week will take place from February 18-24, 2024. This year, we will celebrate the campaign’s 40th anniversary, representing 40 years of dedication to freedom of expression, a fundamental right of all Canadians. Freedom to Read Week, which annually raises awareness about censorship and access to books and magazines, has become a nationwide campaign uniting readers, writers, publishers, schools, libraries, bookstores, universities, colleges, and other organizations across Canada.

Since its inception, the Book and Periodical Council (BPC) has been the driving force behind Freedom to Read Week. Along with dedicated volunteers, it has monitored freedom of expression in Canada, curated educational and thought-provoking content, distributed promotional materials, and promoted campaign events. In recent years, the campaign has grown substantially, both in size and significance. This growth has prompted a desire to broaden the campaign’s reach, deepen its impact, and create more long-term stability.

To propel Freedom to Read Week into its next chapter, four influential organizations—Library and Archives Canada, the Canadian Urban Library Council, the Ontario Library Association, and the Book and Periodical Council—have joined forces. Each organization brings to the table unique resources, expertise, and perspectives. Together, they will reinforce the campaign’s mission and drive continued growth in areas such as content creation and programming.

Michelle Arbuckle, Chair of the Book and Periodical Council and Executive Director, Ontario Library Association, expressed her enthusiasm for this new phase: “The importance of intellectual freedom and this campaign cannot be overstated. This collaboration signifies a united stance that freedom of expression is a fundamental right of all Canadians and freedom to read is a vital part of our society. We are eager to be part of a campaign that inspires a renewed commitment to the enduring values of intellectual freedom and the joy of reading.”

Leslie Weir, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, is thrilled with this new collaboration: “In addition to Library and Archives Canada’s existing commitment to preserve Canada’s documentary heritage, joining with partners to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Freedom to Read Week fills us with excitement as we work together to ensure the campaign has a bright future. This is an opportunity to join hands with Canadians in reaffirming their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is more important than ever.”

Åsa Kachan, Chair, Canadian Urban Libraries Council, champions the value of collaboration: “Across Canada, libraries are on the front line of upholding the freedom to read. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with publishers, bookstores and Library and Archives Canada around this important issue. Together we can uphold access to the broadest array of knowledge, ideas and opinions, something fundamental to our democracy.”

As we look forward to celebrating Freedom to Read Week’s 40th anniversary, we recognize that the campaign’s mission is more crucial than ever. This partnership represents a collective dedication to the principles that lie at the heart of a vibrant and inclusive society. We hope you will join us.

For more information, please contact Anne McClelland, Executive Director of BPC.

About the Book and Periodical Council
The Book and Periodical Council brings together a diverse range of organizations that support the written-word sector in Canada. It provides members with opportunities for collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and capacity-building that will strengthen their individual and collective impact on the industry. Read more at

About Library and Archives Canada
Library and Archives Canada (LAC) combines the holdings, services, and staff of both the former National Library of Canada and the National Archives of Canada. LAC’s mandate is to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations; to be a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, contributing to the cultural, social, and economic advancement of Canada as a free and democratic society; to facilitate in Canada co- operation among communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge; and to serve as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions. Read more at

About the Canadian Urban Libraries Council
The Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC) represents the 53 largest public library systems in Canada. CULC’s mission is to facilitate advocacy, collaboration, and research that strengthens and promotes the value of Canada’s urban libraries as integral to a vibrant democracy, a strong economy, and thriving communities.

About the Ontario Library Association
Founded in 1900, the Ontario Library Association (OLA) is the oldest continually operating non- profit library association in Canada. With more than 4000 members, the OLA is the largest library association in the country. The OLA provides the chance for library staff and supporters to share experience and expertise while creating innovative solutions in a constantly changing environment.

(Via Book and Periodical Council)

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