Richard Ovenden of Oxford University discusses recent attacks on libraries and what they represent to our civil society.


TPL presents distinguished Director of the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Balliol College Richard Ovenden in conversation with Nahlah Ayed (CBC Ideas), at Toronto Reference Library’s Appel Salon space.

Richard Ovenden, director of the famed Bodleian Libraries at Oxford University looks at the central role that your local library plays in ensuring knowledge and history are preserved; And how political, religious, and cultural motivations can drive censorship, book banning and other threats to our open and civil society.

Question and answer session and book signing to follow. Books available for purchase.


Read More:

About Richard Ovenden

About Nahlah Ayed

Read Burning the Books: A History of the Deliberate Destruction of Knowledge


This event is part of our On Civil Society series, where we host local and international authors, activists and academics in conversation about the most critical topics of our time.

Generously supported in part by Chris M. Reid.

This event is also presented in partnership with the Miles Nadal JCC.


Note: This is an in-person event at The Bram and Bluma Appel Salon, the premiere event space for Toronto Public Library’s cultural and heritage programming located on the second floor of the Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge Street).

Arrive early, meet people. The talk starts at 7 pm, but doors open at 6 pm. Come early so you can chat with your fellow literature lovers, and make new friends. As with all Appel Salon events, we’ll have a cash bar with a selection of beer and wine, as well as sandwiches and snacks.

Reminder! We oversell these events to make sure that most people have an opportunity to attend. Tickets are only guaranteed until 15 minutes before the show starts, at which point we will start opening up available spots to the rush line.

This event will not be live streamed but the replay will be made available to watch on TPL’s YouTube channel.


Accessibility at Toronto Public Library

We are committed to making our content accessible to as many Torontonians as possible. Please call or email us if you are Deaf or have a disability and would like to request accommodation to participate in this program. Please let us know as far in advance as possible and we will do our best to meet your request. At least three weeks’ notice is preferred. Phone 416-393-7099 or email

Presented by:

A Kultura Collective Member

In Partnership with:

Toronto Public Library

Start Date: February 23, 2023

7:00 PM

Downtown Toronto

Bram & Bluma Appel Salon
Toronto Reference Library
789 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON M4W 2G8




If accessibility options not listed, please contact the venue to confirm


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