Free a Reader; Free a Book library event a success
A week-long fundraising campaign for the Airdrie Public Library (APL) that featured participants being locked up in the “cage of oppression” raised about $7,000.
“It was a wonderful event,” said Library Director Janine Jevne.
In 1984 Canada’s Cook and Periodical Council launched the first Freedom to Read Week to promote freedom of expression and access to Canadian books and magazines.
The APL has participated in Freedom to Read Week for as long as Jevne can remember.
She said the APL decided to maximize the event into the inaugural Free a Reader; Free a Book fundraising event.
“It’s wonderful that people were so generous,” Jevne said.
Participants were locked up with a banned or challenged book of their choice.
In order to leave the prison and free their book, prisoners had to raise at least $100.
Caged volunteers weren’t subject to too much “hard time” as they were served tea and cookies by library staff and had plenty of reading material with about 200 banned or challenged books in the cage.
“It was great to have the financial support but what we found was it started a conversation,” Jevne said.
She said the conversations centred around why these books were banned and staff and participants researched what was deemed unsavoury about the book.
An example of a banned book is The Wizard of Oz, which was banned because it contained a good witch.
Depicting a witch as anything but sinister was not looked kindly upon Jevne said.
“It was so great to have that conversation and talk about it,” she said.
Cage of Oppression prisoners included Mayor Peter Brown, several current and former APL board members, Airdrie Fire Chief Kevin Weinberger, APL staff and volunteers, radio DJ Rob Jamieson and several Airdrie aldermen. It also included Patty Murray from Rocky View County, staff from City of Airdrie economic development and RCMP members, Lois Jones from Here’s the Scoop, Community Links’ Laurie Jacob-Toews and Lorna Hunt from the Chamber of Commerce.
“We know people have to take time to get those pledges but it was so gratifying to see the support from the community,” Jevne said.
She added the event will be something the library will “definitely be doing again.”
For more information, call the library at 403-948-0600.