It's Freedom to Read Week in Saskatchewan, and a surprising collection of books have been banned at one point or another throughout the country and the world. 

According to Branch Manager at the Weyburn Public Library, Dawn Silver, none of these are banned here in Weyburn.

"To Kill a Mockingbird. It has been banned in Canada in certain schools, in certain libraries, in certain towns, because it talks about the racial inequities in the south, and it talks about people with different abilities and being targeted and marked for different kinds of treatment in the justice system," she explained. "This is not a new book. It's been around for quite a while, but it tackles topics that make a lot of people very uncomfortable. A lot of books that are banned do that. They're, I would say, 'quietly controversial'. Some of them are right in your face, like, 'I Have Two Dads', it's another book that's been banned, a child's picture book. It talks about alternate lifestyles and family types." 

"'Such Is My Beloved' by Morley Callahan has been banned, in 1972 two Christian ministers tried to get this novel removed from a high school in Huntsville, Ontario, on the basis of a depiction of prostitution and the use of strong language," she noted. 

Silver said even 'Underground to Canada' was banned in the tri-county District School Board in Nova Scotia due to objections to depictions of black people.

"It's very interesting to see where stuff is banned. The school board did ultimately reject the request to ban them."

"'Barometer Rising' by Hugh McLennan was banned in Manitoba. Of Mice and Men, in the 90s, the book's presence in the Alberta curriculum was challenged as part of a petition to withdraw books that demean or profane the names of God and Jesus. 'Brave New World' by Aldous Huxley, 'The Golden Compass' has been banned because it talks about witches and alternatives, with people being discriminated against because of their racial composition," listed Silver.

Find the list of most-banned books in Canada HERE.

"It's happening more and more in Canada, but so is opposition to any bans as well. So there's kind of a check and balance in place currently." 

She said that our library system has been very open-minded. 

"We accept challenges and we discuss them amongst the professional staff and then the decision is made, and honestly, I'm happy to say that we've got something in our library that will offend everybody, including me, and then I know we're doing our job right, because there we need to make sure we provide a diverse collection that shows all different types of viewpoints," Silver explained. "It's really important. People come here looking for knowledge and information and we really shouldn't limit people."

"If you don't want to read these, that's great. You go ahead. And if you want your kids not to read them, we encourage you to be a parent to your children. But we feel very strongly that we espouse to the Canadian Library Association's freedom to read."

Not only is the Freedom to Read being celebrated at WPL, and banned books are currently on display just to the right of the entrance, but they've also got a display for Black History Month and Indigenous Storytelling Month.


She noted that librarians stand up for rights and freedoms to protect the freedom to read.

"Whether I agree with it or not, I still make sure I support everything. As a professional librarian, my job is not to have an opinion in the workplace. My opinion is to make sure our collection represents everything and everybody and as many viewpoints as we can cram onto the shelves. As a professional librarian, I'm very aware of my own personal biases, and I don't bring them into the workplace."

Silver added that given our population size, Weyburn's collection is astounding in terms of volume.

"Canadians feel very strongly that public libraries are in very important to their communities and therefore, even if they're not public library users, they will go above and beyond to support and make sure their public library is well taken care of and well served, which is a truly interesting proposition."