Statement from City Librarian on Room Rental Event

October 12, 2019 | Media Relations

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We have received several questions about an upcoming third-party room rental event entitled "Gender Identity: What does It Mean for Society, the Law and Women?". The event is a third-party rental of one of our theatres.  
Intellectual freedom is one of the core values of public libraries, and we promote freedom of expression in our collections, programs and services. We cannot deny access to a room rental on the basis of views that the third-party holds if the request meets criteria set out in our policy. The event organizers are also contractually obligated not to violate the policy. As always, we will be prepared to take immediate action should any room rental contravene the law or our policies. 
We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom, but at the same time are deeply committed to equity and diversity. Allowing a room booking does not imply we endorse or support the views expressed. We are strong supporters of the LGBTQ2S+ community within TPL and the communities we serve. 
More than ever, public libraries are facing intellectual freedom challenges over room bookings with controversial or unpopular speakers. For an excellent overview of this issue, I recommend Alvin Schrader's piece from Ryerson University's Centre for Free Expression
Vickery Bowles
City Librarian