Intellectual freedom

Why does intellectual freedom matter?

Whether you’re reading a book, magazine, or newspaper, listening to your favourite song, watching a new movie, or playing the latest video game, Intellectual Freedom impacts your daily life in a free and democratic society. Intellectual Freedom protects your right to read, listen, write and speak your beliefs and opinions – and everyone has the right to have an opinion or hear an opinion on any topic. Under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the fundamental freedoms of thought, belief and expression allow every Canadian to explore different ideas, hear all sides of an issue and gather information to make well-educated and informed decisions. Intellectual freedom matters!


Intellectual Freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expression of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause, or movement may be explored. Intellectual Freedom encompasses the freedom to hold, receive, and disseminate ideas.”

– American Library Association

We champion the right for all ideas to be heard.

MPL promotes Intellectual Freedom by encouraging you to take responsibility for your own ideas and values while respecting the rights of others to make free choices and have different opinions.


“Libraries have a core responsibility to safeguard and facilitate access to constitutionally protected expressions of knowledge, imagination, ideas, and opinion, including those which some individuals and groups consider unconventional, unpopular or unacceptable. To this end, in accordance with their mandates and professional values and standards, libraries provide, defend and promote equitable access to the widest possible variety of expressive content and resist calls for censorship and the adoption of systems that deny or restrict access to resources.”

– Canadian Federation of Library Associations

Something for everyone.

The materials in your library are selected to offer a diverse, balanced, and high-quality collection representing all viewpoints. MPL’s selection criteria include:

• Suitability of subject, style, and reading level for the intended audience
• Authority or significance of the author
• Quality of writing, production, and illustration
• Authority and standards of the publisher
• Recommendations by critics or reviewers
• Suitability of format for library use
• Relationship of the subject to the existing collection
• Public demand
• Importance of subject matter in relation to community needs
• Timeliness and/or permanence
• Availability of materials through other libraries or institutions
• Canadian content
• Purchase price and other budgetary considerations
• Diversity and inclusivity
• Representation

What does MPL do about Intellectual Freedom?

Each year over one million items are borrowed from the Milton Public Library – books, magazines, music, movies, video games and more. MPL plays an important role in protecting your right to Intellectual Freedom, ensuring everyone has uncensored access to materials of varying topics, beliefs and opinions.
We’re a hive of ideas. With more than 600,000 materials in our collection, there’s guaranteed to be something that might offend. However, you’ll rarely find any materials marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents – that’s your decision. As a hive of ideas, MPL provides a wide range of materials and we want you to use them freely and develop your own informed thoughts and opinions.


What if I don’t like a book?

There may be a book, a CD or a DVD in our collection that you don’t like.  Tell us about it. Share your concerns with a staff member – all issues will be explored and responded to. If you think there are better materials available expressing certain viewpoints, let us know by filling out a material request form here.

What are my kids looking at?

You’re the best judge of what your kids should and should not do. We encourage you to have discussions with your children about what is appropriate for them to read, listen, view and play. Children under the age of 13 must have permission from their parents or guardians to get a library card and with access to your child’s “My Account”, you can conveniently review your children’s borrowing activity online.

What about the Internet?

MPL provides unfiltered Internet access in support of Intellectual Freedom, but users must comply with MPL’s Public Internet Access Policy.

Online Intellectual Freedom resources?

Official Freedom to Read (Canada) website:

Canadian Federation of Library Associations website:

American Library Association website: