Canadian School District Clears Pre-2008 Books From Libraries

In a move to enhance “inclusivity,” a Canadian school district has cleared its libraries of all books published before 2008.

As per the Daily Caller, the Peel School District in Mississauga, Ontario, responded to a provincial directive from the minister of education, which called for an increased emphasis on “equity.”

The directive reads, “The Board shall evaluate books, media and all other resources currently in use for teaching and learning English, History and Social Sciences for the purpose of utilizing resources that are inclusive and culturally responsive, relevant and reflective of students and the Board’s broader school communities.”

The Peel District School Board (PDSB) later released a statement justifying its choice, stating that the removal of these books “has always been a part of teacher/librarian responsibilities within PDSB and at school boards across the country.”

The school board elaborated, stating that books published before 2008 are removed if they are damaged, contain inaccuracies or have low circulation (meaning students aren’t checking them out). Older books will be retained in the libraries only if they are deemed accurate, aligned with the curriculum, support board initiatives and are of interest to and engaging for students.

The district’s choice has faced significant backlash from both parents and students. Tom Ellard, a district parent and the founder of Libraries Not Landfills, raised a critical question, saying, “Who’s the arbiter of what’s the right material to go in the library, and who’s the arbiter of what’s wrong in our libraries? That’s unclear. It’s not clear to the teachers who’ve provided us this material, and it’s not clear to me as a parent or as a taxpayer.”

Dianne Lawson, a member of Libraries Not Landfills, highlighted that the removal process had resulted in the elimination of books like Anne Frank’s “The Diary of a Young Girl” and the children’s classic “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”

In reaction to the criticism, PDSB Chairman David Green stated that the district has temporarily halted its removal of library books. This pause allows them to take additional time to refine the process and establish clear criteria for book removal.

Green said, “We have to make sure that we are meeting the needs of the students and not just rolling something out because we were told to do it.”