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CONTROVERSY @ NOON: Book Banning In Alberta and Canada (Online, February 21)


February 21th, 2024
12 – 1 PM MST, Online

With book banning in Alberta and Canada seemingly on the rise, it’s left many wondering what this means for writers, for readers, and for the community at large. What are the ways in which censorship affects and/or impedes the literary world, and what can we do to maintain the creative freedom to read and to write what we choose to? Join our group of panelists as they examine censorship and book banning during the WGA’s February Controversy @ Noon panel.

Please pre-register for the panel here.

About The Panelists

Åsa Kachan

Åsa Kachan is the CEO & Chief Librarian for Halifax Public Libraries where she oversees 350 staff working across the 14-branch library system. Halifax Public Libraries received international acclaim with the opening of Halifax’s new Central Library in 2014. Halifax Public Libraries is highly regarded for its services, programs and welcoming spaces that reach diverse populations with equality and respect and the ways in which the library has innovated and adapted to the changing needs of community.

Prior to her role with Halifax Public Libraries, Åsa spent 16 years in senior administrative roles within universities, most recently serving ten years as the Assistant Vice-President Enrolment Management & Registrar for Dalhousie University.

Åsa volunteers her time on Boards and with a number of community organizations. She is currently the Chair of the Canadian Urban Libraries Council. She is a member of the Board of the Walrus Magazine, chairing the Educational Review Committee. She sits on the Advisory Board for the Faculty of Management, Dalhousie University; and since 2018, Åsa has been a member of the Governing Council of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada. Locally, she is a past board member of the United Way of Halifax, Halifax Dance and the Halifax Grammar School.

Jessie Bach

Jessie Bach grew up on a family farm in Southern Alberta and is a lifelong library user and book lover. She has a degree in history from the University of Saskatchewan and a Master of Library and Information Studies from Dalhousie University. Jessie has worked in archives, academic libraries, corporate records management, and now public libraries. Her current role is Communications & Engagement Manager at Marigold Library System. She also writes a monthly libraries column for called Beyond the Stacks. 

Jessie currently lives in Calgary with her partner and, in true librarian fashion, three cats. She likes to read (of course), bake bread, listen to true crime podcasts, and lift weights in the gym.

Anjula Gogia

Anjula Gogia is the Retail Manager and Events Coordinator at Another Story Bookshop, one of Toronto’s oldest independent bookstores with a focus on social justice, equity and diversity. She was the co-manager of the Toronto Women’s Bookstore from 1996-2006. In 2022 she was awarded the Freedom to Read Award from the Writer’s Union of Canada for her work promoting and presenting diverse reading and writing in Canada for the past 28 years.

FB: Anjulagogia & anotherstorybookshop
IG: anjulagogia & anotherstorybookshop
X: AnotherstoryTO

Dr. Kristopher Wells (He/Him)

Dr. Kristopher Wells is an Associate Professor and the Canada Research Chair (Tier II) for the Public Understanding of Sexual and Gender Minority Youth at MacEwan University. He also serves as the founding director for the MacEwan Centre for Sexual and Gender Diversity. His scholarly work specializes in sexual and gender minority youth, health, education, sport, and culture. Dr. Wells is one of the driving forces behind the creation of many ground-breaking initiatives including PrideTape, Camp fYrefly, Edmonton Queer History Project, and the Alberta GSA Conference and Network.

Dr. Wells is a frequently invited national and international speaker on sexual and gender minority youth issues. He has served as an expert scientific consultant to the Government of Canada, Canadian Senate, Canadian Museum of Human Rights, Canadian Teachers’ Federation, RCMP, Public Health Agency of Canada, UNESCO, World Health Organization, and many provincial and municipal governments across Canada.

Currently, Dr. Wells serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of LGBT Youth, which is the world’s leading research publication on 2SLGBTQ+ youth. His work has been recognized with over 50 scholarly and community awards and recognitions including the Alberta Teachers’ Association’s Public Education Award, University of Alberta’s Alumni Horizon Award, Alberta Centennial Medallion, and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal.

Twitter: @Kristopher.Wells

Kit Dobson

Kit Dobson is a professor in the Department of English at the University of Calgary. His most recent book, Field Notes on Listening, was one of the CBC’s top non-fiction titles of 2022. His first novel, We Are Already Ghosts, is scheduled to be released in spring 2024. In the fall semester of the 2023-2024 academic year, he taught a course on banned and challenged books that will inform his comments for this panel discussion.

IG: @kitdobson. Please feel welcome to add me on FB yourself if you would like, and I’m no longer on X / Twitter.

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