Nenshi, on behalf of Members of Council, recognized 2017 February 26 – March
4, as Freedom to Read Week. The Mayor stated that the 33rd annual
Freedom to Read Week affirms our right as Canadians to decide for ourselves
what we choose to read.
Nenshi welcomed Bill Ptacek, Chief Executive Officer of the Calgary Public
Library, and called upon him to say a few words.
Ptacek thanked Mayor Nenshi and Members of Council for their support, and introduced
colleagues from The Calgary Board of Education: Jeannie Everett, Superintendent
of Learning, Joy Bowen-Eyre, Calgary Board of Education Chair Wards 1 and 2,
Julie Hrdlicka, Calgary Board of Education Trustee Wards 11 and 13; and
Shereen Samuals, Director of Student Services at Mount Royal. The Calgary
Public Library has an incredible partnership with the School Board,
highlighted by 150,000 students in the Calgary Board of Education having
access to digital resources of the Calgary Public Library.
behalf of the Calgary Public Library and the 600,000 public library
cardholders, staff and board, and in the celebration of Freedom to Read Week,
Mr. Ptacek presented the Mayor with a special edition of the book “When
Everything Feels Like the Movies” by author Raziel Reid.
Reid’s debut novel, When Everything Feels Like the Movies is inspired
in part by the 2008 murder of gay teenager, Lawrence Fobes King, winning the
2014 Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Literature. When
Everything Feels Like the Movies was the first young adult book selected
for inclusion in the 2015 edition of Canada Reads and was a finalist for both
the Lambda Literary Award LGBT Children’s/Young Adult category and the Publishing
Triangles Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction.
Ptacek indicated that Freedom to Read Week underscores the importance of
creating spaces for books and resources which create opportunity for the
human mind to soar. Calgary Public Library staff and Board members are
committed to removing physical and financial barriers, to creating the best
public library in the world, and to building a city of readers. Mr. Ptacek
encourages all Calgarians to join the challenge to read 150 books this year in
celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday.
Nenshi thanked Mr. Ptacek and the representatives from the Calgary Public Library
and the Calgary Board of Education. Mayor Nenshi stated that he was proud
of the work the library does in remaining tremendously relevant in the
community. An important part of that is to raise the profile and awareness for
the Freedom To Read Week. The week underscores that our freedom to read should
never be taken for granted. It is a foundation of our democracy. Throughout
the world, where we see the loss of this simple freedom, where we see
citizens without the opportunity to explore new ideas, to defend their passions
and to challenge injustice, we must always stand up for that freedom. In
honour of this week and in recognition of those who have been denied that freedom,
Mayor Nenshi encouraged all Calgarians to visit their local library. Reading
opens up amazing worlds, worlds that motivate us to wonder, to seek, to discover
and share brave new ideas.
Mayor thanked Mr. Ptacek for his comments and for providing Members of Council
with copies of the Great Reads for 2017 Reading Guide, which is also
available free to all Calgarians online and in libraries throughout the city.