Scenario 1: A pregnant person approaches Alex, who is sitting at the reference desk, and introduces themselves as Gia. Gia asks Alex to help them find some anti-vaccination literature. Gia tells Alex that their peers at a pregnancy support group have been vocal about the importance of vaccinating babies, and Gia wants to give them information about the dangers of vaccinating children.


Scenario 2: While reviewing emails sent to the library’s general inquiries email address, Dan reads an email which recommends an item for the library collection. The book denounces the existence of the COVID-19 virus. Attached to the email is a petition signed by 20 people who support having the book in the library’s collection.


Scenario 3: Julie, Head of Marketing and Communications for her library system, receives an urgent phone message from the Library Board Chair asking her to respond to a column in the local LGBTQ+ newspaper that is demanding the library remove unscientific homophobic and transphobic materials from its nonfiction collection.


Have you ever had a similar experience, where you had to balance the library’s commitment to intellectual freedom and providing access to all viewpoints against the potential harms of medical disinformation?


Researchers at the University of British Columbia, in partnership with the British Columbia Library Association, are conducting a study titled, “Balancing intellectual freedom and medical disinformation in Canadian libraries.Canadian libraries have long been supporters and defenders of intellectual freedom. Certain types of materials have always posed challenges to intellectual freedom ideals, and libraries have faced difficult decisions regarding how to balance issues of intellectual freedom and stemming the tide of health disinformation.


We are seeking volunteer interview participants to help us understand how Canadian libraries and library workers have been negotiating these difficult topics, and what considerations might exist for different types of libraries in diverse communities across the country. 


To be eligible for an interview, you must: 

1.       Live in Canada; 

2.     Be at least 19 years old;

2.       Work or have previously worked in a Canadian library; 

3.       Have experienced challenges related to intellectual freedom and/or medical disinformation in your role or job with a Canadian library; and  

4.     Be able to complete an online or telephone interview in English.  


Participation involves a brief demographic survey and a 60-minute interview about your experiences and perspective. The interview will be conducted by UBC researchers and can be completed by telephone or through other secure online means such as UBC’s Zoom platform. 


Participation is completely voluntary. For more information about the study or to let us now that you are interested in participating in the study, please send us an email to [log in to unmask] or leave a phone message at 604-822-5305. Please mention the study Intellectual freedom and medical disinformation, leave your name and the best way to contact you about the study.  





Rina Hadziev, MLIS (she/her) how to pronounce my name
Executive Director
British Columbia Library Association
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Phone: 250-812-3893



BCLA members are honoured to serve the diverse Indigenous Nations and communities throughout what is now known as British Columbia. I respectfully acknowledge that my work takes place on the unceded traditional lands of the lək̓ʷəŋən Peoples, and that the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations' relationships with the land continue to this day.



Cate Carlyle



Atlantic Provinces Library Association

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