In Toronto, the principal of a public elementary school recently invited parents to participate in a “library audit.” Parents were given a copy of the Toronto District School Board’s Equity Toolkit, and they were told to evaluate library books according to a checklist.
Ira Wells, an assistant professor of literature at the University of Toronto, took part in the audit.
“The principal assured me the aim was not to ban books,” Wells wrote. The exercise was meant more to prompt reflection or discussion, the principal said, “unless the resources [were] explicitly harmful in their representation of groups of peoples.”
“But who would judge whether books were explicitly harmful?” Wells wondered. “What criteria would be used to measure the harm, and how would they be applied?”
Wells’s story appears in the Toronto Star:
- Thanks go to Anne McClelland and Ron Brown who forwarded the story.
- Members of the Freedoms and Rights Committee of the Writers’ Union of Canada have already received this story.
The Book and Periodical Council was formed in 1975 as the Book and Periodical Development Council to provide a venue for members to discuss industry issues, address mutual concerns and undertake projects for the benefit of Canadian writing and publishing.