Celebrate Freedom to Read Week
Next week Queen’s will celebrate Freedom to Read, a nationally recognized event that raises awareness of challenged print publications and promotes freedom of expression. Paul Carl is one of the readers who have signed up to share an excerpt from a personally significant piece of literature.
“One of the reasons I’m getting involved in Freedom to Read is that being Aboriginal means a lot to me. It’s important to recognize and celebrate the fact that we now have the freedom to read and go to university without prosecution,“ says Mr. Carl, Office Assistant at the Four Directions Aboriginal Centre. “My choice of reading isn’t controversial, but it addresses the issue of acceptance in the face of cultural difference—something that is very important to my community.”
In addition to encouraging students to read more, Learning Commons Coordinator Nathalie Soini and the Freedom to Read organizing committee hope that the events taking place at Queen’s will encourage everyone to think critically about the issue of censorship.
“We don’t believe in censoring material,” explains Ms Soini. “Reading challenged materials doesn’t mean that you agree with what’s been said, but it gives you the opportunity to form your own opinion. Some may disagree with what’s been written, but people should still have the right to read it.”
While this year’s Freedom to Read celebrations and series of public readings coincide with the debate surrounding the censorship of Huckleberry Finn, Ms Soini says there’s nothing unusual about this.
“There’s always a book somewhere that’s being banned,” comments Ms Soini. The recent controversy over Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing” lyrics is another censorship debate that the Queen’s Freedom to Read organizers intend to respond to with a public reading.
This is the second year Queen’s has participated in Freedom to Read.
For more information on Freedom to Read events at Stauffer Library, please visit the library news website. Queen’s Learning Commons staff are also encouraging everyone to investigate the national Freedom to Read events that will take place during Queen’s Reading Week (Feb. 20-26).