Freedom to Read

Freedom to Read Week 2015 - February 22-28

Freedom to Read Week (FTRW) is an annual national event that celebrates intellectual freedom in Canada and raises awareness about the challenges to our freedom to read. EPL and libraries across the country play an important role in protecting your intellectual freedom, ensuring everyone has uncensored access to materials of varying topics, beliefs and opinions.

  FTRW 2015 Event Schedule 


Charlie Hebdo Exhibit

Charlie Hebdo is a French satirical weekly magazine that was the target of terrorist attacks in response to its controversial cartoons. The most recent attack in January of 2015 left 12 Charlie Hebdo staff members dead and began the “Je Suis Charlie” campaign. The phrase “Je Suis Charlie” was embraced by many journalists and individuals and used to identify themselves as supporters of those who were killed in the shootings and of free speech and freedom of expression.

In celebration of Freedom to Read Week, EPL is hosting the UofA’s Charlie Hebdo Exhibit. The posters displayed around the Stanley A. Milner Library gather visual information about the magazine Charlie Hebdo, the tradition of insolent caricatures in France, controversies about the representation of religious and political figures in a wider context, and reactions from all over the world illustrating the symbolic impact of the Charlie Hebdo shootings. We hope the posters start discussion about individual and collective freedom, the limits of free press and free speech and how such attacks affect us all. 

Exhibit Organizers and Creators:
Adrien Guyot, Ph.D. student in MLCS
Marine Gheno, Ph.D. student in MLCS 
Marc Seince, Student in PoliSci
Chris Reyns-Chikuma, Professor in MLCS (Modern Languages & Cultural Studies), UofA.

WhenSunday February 22 - Saturday February 28
WhereStanley A. Milner Library



In celebration of Freedom to Read Week, EPL is proud to welcome Lieutenant General Roméo Dallaire for a special speaking presentation on Wednesday, February 25th. 

Hear his powerful presentation on leadership, risk-taking, difficult ethical situations and the role intellectual freedom and freedom of expression has played and continues to play in Lieutenant General Dallaire's leadership and throughout the world. 

WhenWednesday, February 25, 2015
WhereChateau Lacombe
0111 Bellamy Hill Road NW
Edmonton, AB

The ticket lottery has now ended. Winners will be randomly selected and notified by Wednesday, February 11, 2015.

There is a select amount of tickets available for purchase through Tix on the Square at if you would like to secure a seat at the event.  Your ticket will include a premium seat at the event and admission to a private wine and hors d'oeuvres reception with Lieutenant General Roméo Dallaire following his presentation. 



Banned Books Cafe

Celebrate Freedom to Read Week by participating in the Banned Books Café. Hear readings from challenged books and join in discussions about censorship and your freedom to read.


Saturday, February 28, 2015 at 2 p.m.


Woodcroft Branch
3420 114 Avenue




Drop In. No registration required.

Challenged materials from around the world

Books, magazines, newspapers and other materials are challenged and banned in Canada and around the world all the time. Each challenge has sought to limit public access to materials in schools, libraries or bookstores.

Take a look at why they were challenged and what the results were.

What will I find at EPL?

Walk into any branch and you'll find a wide range of books, CDs, DVDs and other materials. We don't condemn, endorse or advocate controversial materials on our shelves. Nor do we mark or identify materials to show approval or disapproval of the contents. Why? Because it's your "right to know". It's your right to use these materials freely and to develop your own informed thoughts and opinions.

How does EPL select books and other materials?

All materials at EPL are selected based on the following criteria:

  • Relevance to our community's needs
  • Importance as a historical document or as a current event
  • Relation to the existing collection and other materials on the subject
  • Popularity and local demand

We also take into account the expertise, comprehensive treatment of a subject, clarity and representation of different points of view (including extreme or miniority points of view). >> Complete Collection Development Policy.

What if there are materials in the library I don't like?

If you think we should not have a particular item on our shelves, or that an item should be relocated within the collection, you can request reconsideration of materials by filling out forms available at every branch.

All requests from customers are taken seriously and will be answered.

Take a look at EPL's procedure for dealing with citizens' complaints about library materials and the current list of challenged materials at EPL.


If you believe there are better materials available expressing certain viewpoints, you can make suggestions for new items at any branch or on our website.


Do my kids have access to all library materials?

Yes, your child's card provides access to all material in our library, however, children under the age of 18 must have permission from their parents or guardians to get a library card. Parents and guardians are the best judge of what their children should or should not read and can regularly review their borrowing activity. We recommend that you have discussions with your children about what is appropriate for them to read, listen, view, and play.

<<< Download EPL's Intellectual Freedom brochure >>>



“The right to know is a requirement for freedom of thought and conscience; freedom of thought and freedom of expression are necessary conditions for freedom of access to information.”

- International Federation of Library Associations

Intellectual Freedom and EPL

<<< Download EPL's Intellectual Freedom brochure >>>

With over 260,000 Edmontonians enjoying our services regularly, our customers come from a rich mixture of cultures, representing over 36 countries from around the world, each holding a diversity of opinions and beliefs. One of the vital community roles the library plays is to protect the Intellectual Freedom of our many customers, including yours.

"It is the responsibility of libraries to guarantee and facilitate access to all expressions of knowledge and intellectual activity, including those which some elements of society may consider to be unconventional, unpopular, or unacceptable. To this end, libraries shall acquire and make available the widest variety of materials." - Canadian Library Association

EPL strongly supports this statement and supplies a wide range of materials allowing for individuals to use them without obstruction and to develop their own informed opinions and ideas.



"Intellectual Freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause, or movement may be explored. Intellectual freedom encompasses the freedom to hold, receive, and disseminate ideas."

- American Library Association