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Free a Reader; Free a Book back for second year at Airdrie Public Library

By: Allison Chorney

  |  Posted: Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 06:00 am

The Airdrie Public Library is holding the second annual Free a Reader; Free a Book fundraisers where volunteers spend some
The Airdrie Public Library is holding the second annual Free a Reader; Free a Book fundraisers where volunteers spend some "hard time" in the Cage of Oppression with a banned or challenged book of their choice. In order to leave the cage and free their chosen book, volunteers must collect at least $100.
Matt Durnan/Rocky View Publishing

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After a successful inaugural event last year, the Airdrie Public Library is once again asking residents to support intellectual freedom with the Free a Reader; Free a Book fundraiser.

The event places volunteers and the books they love that have been banned or challenged in the Cage of Oppression until at least $100 in pledges is collected for each book.

“Freedom of thought and expression is a basic freedom in our country,” said Anne Beaty, communications and fund development co-ordinator with the library. “The freedom to pick up a book or go on the Internet and read what you want is essential.”

The fundraiser runs at the library from Feb. 24 through to March 1, and is a part of the library’s recognition of Freedom to Read Week, which sees libraries across Canada reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom and the fundamental right of everyone to freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression.

While this is only the second year of Free a Reader; Free a Book, the library has participated in Freedom to Read Week for many years, Beaty said.

The money raised from Free a Reader; Free a Book will benefit the library’s collections budget.

Last year’s fundraising event raised $7,000 for the library and “freed” about 20 books.

“These are all book that have been challenged or banned over the years and some continue to be,” Beaty said of the hundreds of books that have been suggested to be unsuitable to be included in schools or public libraries.

These books include classics like Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz, James and the Giant Peach and the Harry Potter series.

“We shouldn’t just take (our freedom to read) for granted and let someone else decide what books should be in our libraries and what we can have access to,” Beaty said.

Last year’s event saw some notable Airdronians spend some “hard time” in the Cage of Oppression, including Mayor Peter Brown, several Airdrie Public Library board members, Airdrie Fire Chief Kevin Weinberger and several members of City council.

Brown will once again get locked up in support of the library, along with some of the library board members.

Pledges can be made by directly contacting a Cage of Oppression volunteer, or at the library.

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