Monday, May 19, 2014

Homeless Connect

We had a great time at Homeless Connect this spring!

Check out more photos of us and other volunteers at Homeless Connect on our Facebook page.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

FLIF at Homeless Connect

FLIF will be participating in Homeless Connect this Sunday, April 6, 2014 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. 

Homeless Connect takes place at the Shaw Conference Centre, 9797 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton. 

Come browse our books! 

Friday, March 07, 2014

International Women's Day

Thanks to everyone who stopped by our table in HUB on Tuesday to show your support for FLIF and International Women's Day (which takes place on March 8). We are very proud to have a part in celebrating women around the world and their right to express themselves.

We had the following books on display:

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
Freedom from Fear by Aung San Suu Kyi
I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
I know why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Not Without my Daughter by Betty Mahmoody
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Putin’s Russia by Anna Politkovskaya
Wild Swans by Jung Chang
A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan who Dared to Raise her Voice by Malalai Joya
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
The tale of Two Nazanins by Nazanin Afshin-Jam
The Colour Purple by Alice Walker
Forever by Judy Blume
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents by Julia Alvarez
The Well of Loneliness by Radcliffe Hall
The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

For more information on some of these books and the authors, please see the following links:
I am Malala:


Putin's Russia and Anna Politkovskaya:

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl:

Wild Swans and Jung Chang:

Malalai Joya:

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings:

The tale of Two Nazanins:








Sunday, February 16, 2014

Freedom in Forgiveness

In conjunction with Freedom to Read week, Edmonton Public Library is hosting humanitarian and activist Amanda Lindhout as she speaks about her experience as a hostage in Somalia on Monday evening, February 24th, at the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science (CCIS) on the University of Alberta Campus. Ms. Lindhout will also be signing copies of her book, "A House in the Sky." The event is free and begins at 7:30 p.m. More information can be found here:

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Health Canada Library Turmoil

The Harper government assault on Canada's libraries is of continuing concern not only to those in the information profession, but also to the communities that utilize our nation's resources. In an article published on January 22, 2014, the CBC disclosed a report criticizing government cuts to Health Canada libraries. The report, provided by a consultant to the department, noted a decrease in utilization of the library's resources. Health Canada scientists have blamed the decreased use on increased difficulty in accessing professional library services and materials.

For its part, Health Canada disputed the findings in the report, stating that "the recommendations [were] based on inaccurate information and [were] not . . . accepted."

Still, there remains cause for concern. Scientists and information professionals alike are worried about the impact of the government cuts on research and to Canada's international scientific reputation, and therefore, it is essential to be vigilant in ensuring that the concerns of those who are both directly and indirectly affected by these cuts continue to be heard.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The * Word

How far does "context" get us? In the case of one student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, it may not be very far. On January 16, 2014, the Huffington Post reported that in November 2013, "the UNL student senate debated and passed a resolution 'encouraging a broadly inclusive and welcoming campus' that concluded:
Be it resolved, that as senators... We pledge to remove derogatory terms from our vocabulary (that may or may not be purposely directed as offensive) in regard to a person's gender, age, disability, genetic information, race, color, religion, pregnancy status, marital status, veteran's status, national or ethnic origin, gender identity or expression, place of residence, political affiliation, or sexual orientation."
The article went on to disclose that in opposition to the senate's position, one student used a racial epithet while quoting comedian Chris Rock to make his argument. The student, Cameron Murphy, argued that such language is acceptable in certain contexts and if used by certain people. In response, the school has attempted to impeach the Senator on the grounds that "intolerance of intolerance . . . must include intolerance of intolerant terms." 

While UNL has subsequently failed to impeach the student Senator, there remains the problematic issue of where intellectual freedom and freedom of speech fit when struggling to fight intolerance and "isms" in our communities. 

Can we allow for an understanding of context when dealing with speech -- and indeed, materials -- that include terms that we now consider derogatory and hateful? Is there room for an understanding of time, place, and source? Or should there simply be a zero tolerance policy when it comes to such language? 

Should our goal be tolerance or respect and understanding?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

This just in...

After the backlash from the recent banning of Invisible Man from the shelves of Randolph County high school libraries, the Board of Education has voted to return the book to the shelves. The members voted 6-1 to make the novel available in school libraries once again, and board member Matthew Lambeth said he thought he "came to a conclusion too quickly". It's exciting to know that with voices protesting loud enough, banned books may not always stay off the bookshelves for too long.

Gagging the Canadian Military

The Ottawa Citizen reports that the Canadian Forces is requesting that its wounded members sign a form prohibiting them from criticizing the military on social media. The request comes from the Joint Personnel Support Unit (JPSU), which oversees support centres across the country with the aim of helping wounded soldiers. Their policy is intended to provide education to its "members and personnel on what constitutes the appropriate and inappropriate use of social media and the possible ramifications for a CAF member" (Pugliese).

Critics contend that the policy stifles freedom of speech and may "intimidate those who were injured and prevent them from speaking out about ill treatment," and that while military personnel are not required to sign the form, "most would feel compelled to do so . . . [and] if they step out of line and make controversial comments about how they have been treated by the Canadian Forces, the signed form would be among the first items introduced at their court martial" (Pugliese).

In its defense, the JPSU argues that "inappropriate use of social media has serious ramifications for the Canadian Forces as it can erode public trust and 'destroy team cohesion'" (Pugliese).

One question here is whether there has already been an erosion of trust between the Canadian Forces and its members.