by Stephen Dafoe

The Morinville Community Library will be celebrating Freedom to Read Week Feb. 21 to 27. The annual event encourages Canadians to think about the intellectual freedoms guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The week features books that have been challenged or banned by various groups, or individuals, in communities across Canada. Authors, including Margaret Atwood, Harper Lee, Mark Twain, J.K. Rowling, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Alice Munro, and others have all had works that have been challenged or banned because of their content.

Assistant Manager Cheryl Pasechnik said the event was important to the library. “It’s just really important that we are able to read the books that are out there,” she said, adding surprising titles like Little Red Riding Hood were on the list. The book was originally banned because one edition had a bottle of wine on the cover in Red Riding Hood’s basket.

Pasechnik said banned or challenged books will be wrapped in brown paper at the library, and people can sign out a book without seeing what it is until they open it.

“You won’t know what you’re reading because the title will not be available for your viewing,” Pasechnik said. “They will be wrapped with some indication if it is a mystery or whatever, and that it is a banned book. You can sign it out, take it home, and enjoy reading a banned book.”

The library will display dozens of books challenged or banned over the years, and the library is creating a Wall of Shame, allowing patrons a chance to have their photo taken with the banned book of their choice. The library will also have bookmarks with facts about the banned book, including reasons for banning.

For more information on Freedom to Read Week visit www.freedomtoread.ca or www.morinvillelibrary.ca.

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