City librarian speaks out against hate graffiti at Toronto Public Library branch

Vickery Bowles, the city librarian for the Toronto Public Library, released a statement on hate graffiti found on library property.

'Defacing the public library with messages of hate will not be tolerated,' city's top librarian says

Vickery Bowles, city librarian for the Toronto Public Library, spoke out against hate graffiti found on library property in a statement released Nov. 24. (Shawn Benjamin/CBC)

The Toronto Public Library will "stand up against hate speech," according to a statement from city librarian Vickery Bowles after hate graffiti was found recently on library property. 

The anti-Semitic graffiti was scrawled on the window of the Mimico Centennial branch. It was quickly removed by someone in the community before staff could take action.

The incident was reported to staff on Nov. 14.

Police were notified and additional hate graffiti was found at other locations within the area.

"I never really thought I would have to write a statement such as this because I never really anticipated such a challenge would come to the public library in this great city," Bowles wrote.

I am standing up to say that defacing the public library with messages of hate will not be tolerated.- City Librarian  Vickery Bowles

Bowles, who heads Toronto's entire public library system, said these kinds of messages "threaten everything a civil society stands for, everything the public library stands for."

"The public library is a welcoming, inclusive public space that supports the social justice principles of equity and inclusion," Bowles wrote.

"I will — indeed all of us at Toronto Public Library — will stand up against hate speech whenever it comes knocking at our door."

The full statement can be read here.

About the Author

Christine Pagulayan

CBC News Reporter

Christine Pagulayan is a reporter with CBC Toronto. She is also a producer at CBC News Network. Before working for CBC Toronto, she has worked for CBC News in Moncton, Halifax, Vancouver and Winnipeg. Find her on Twitter: @christineisa.