Canada's largest public library condemns banning of Mistry Book

October 22, 2010 | Michelle Leung

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Canada's largest public library condemns banning of Mistry Book

Toronto Public Library adds its voice to the growing concern over University of Mumbai withdrawal of "Such a Long Journey"


The Toronto Public Library wishes to express its concern over the removal of Canadian author Rohinton Mistry’s book Such a Long Journey from the University of Mumbai’s curriculum and the subsequent burning of the book by the right-wing nationalist group, Shiv Sena. The Library finds the book burning particularly abhorrent as this act has become emblematic of the destruction of knowledge and culture.


“The restriction of access to this book goes against the Library’s fundamental values of support for intellectual freedom, opposition to censorship and the promotion of universal access to a broad range of human knowledge,” said Jane Pyper, Toronto Public Library City Librarian. “We wish to add our voice to those of other organizations and individuals in requesting that the University reconsider its decision and reaffirm its commitment to unimpeded access to information, and to the free exchange of ideas.”


No similar objections were made when the book was published in 1991 or when it was added to the University’s curriculum in 2007. Mistry’s story of a bank clerk living through India’s political turmoil in the 1970s, won the Governor General’s Award for fiction and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book and was short-listed for the Booker Prize. It has been translated into twenty-nine languages and is owned by public and academic libraries worldwide. Toronto Public Library owns 59 copies, many of which are replacements of well-used copies, and it continues to be heavily borrowed, an indication of its lasting importance and popularity.


Toronto Public Library is the world's busiest urban public library system. Every year, more than 17.5 million people visit our 99 branches and borrow more than 31 million items. To learn more about Toronto Public Library, visit our website at or call Answerline at 416-393-7131.


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