The Centre for Free Expression (CFE) invites your library to participate in the Library Challenges Database. With the advice and guidance of the CFE Working Group on Intellectual Freedom, we have created the Library Challenges Database to assist libraries in responding to challenges and to enable important research on intellectual freedom in Canada.
The database will include challenges with respect to collection items, programs, displays, community use of space, internet use, or other services. For each challenge, the database will include (1) the complaint/challenge, (2) any background research which the library undertook to respond to the challenge, and (3) the library’s response.
The challenges will be fully searchable by (1) Title, Author, Speaker; (2) Reason for challenge; (3) Action requested; (4) Action taken by library; (4) Category [e.g., collection, display, room usage, program]; (5) Year of the challenge; (6) Name of library; (7) Type of library [public, school, academic, business, and government libraries]; (8) Target audience of the challenged object.
The database will allow a library that receives a challenge to see where the item has been challenged elsewhere and how it has been dealt with. In addition to its usefulness for libraries, the database will make possible, for the first time in Canada, comprehensive research on the number and nature of challenges, the reasons, the outcomes, and how these have varied by community, region, and over time.
The CFE Library Challenges Database will available in both French and English, although the content will be in the language of the library submitting it. The CFE staff will work with your library to upload your past challenges. As new challenges come in, they can be simply added using an online Google form developed by CFE.
Prior to our launch of the database in September 2022, we loaded all the challenges provided by the Toronto Public Library, the Edmonton Public Library, the Vancouver Public Library, the Hamilton Public Library, and the Milton Public Library so that you can see how the database works. Both the French and the English databases are available on the CFE’s Promoting Libraries and Intellectual Freedom website. Our goal is to include all the public, school, academic, and government libraries in Canada that have received challenges.