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Intellectual Freedom Toolkit

Posted in Advocacy, and Intellectual Freedom

Manitoba Library Association continues to express its ongoing concern regarding book censorship efforts in the province. As recently as this week, Brandon School Division was approached by a delegation suggesting the banning of books from school libraries.

In response to these matters, MLA is announcing its release of the

Public Libraries Intellectual Freedom and Anti-Censorship Toolkit

This delegation has falsely equated 2SLGBTQIA+ materials selected for school libraries as “pedophilia” and “grooming”. In addition to condemning these attempts at censorship, MLA condemns the discriminatory characterization behind these calls for censorship. We consider this an affront to our professional values of intellectual freedom and equity, diversity, and inclusion alike.

This matter, as well as the recent events at South Central Regional Library, were discussed at Legislative Assembly (House Broadcasts – May 10, 2023 – YouTube – 14:24 House time, 1:23 video timestamp).

Public Libraries Intellectual Freedom and Anti-Censorship Toolkit 

“Our policies are legitimate, our books are legal, and yet we are forced to defend ourselves over and over again,” Cathy Ching, director of the South Central Regional Library.

The Toolkit was created in response to censorship and defunding challenges in the South Central Regional Library system in Fall of 2022 and Spring of 2023, to support other public library systems in the province that may face similar challenges. The Toolkit, which is intended to grow and evolve over time, contains valuable sources of information, resources, and recommendations for public libraries to use for this purpose. While the Toolkit is public library focused, our hope is that other libraries and information settings may also find it useful.

The release of the Toolkit is timely as MLA prepares to host its virtual Manitoba Libraries Conference on May 18-19 with a panel discussion, and a closing keynote conversation on the topic of Intellectual Freedom. Leading into the conference on May 17, the Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA-FCAB) National Forum will host a half day of discovery and discourse to inform national policies and practices regarding the current moral panic facing libraries.