May 29, 2022

Interview: “‘This Has Been a Valuable Debate’: Toronto Librarian Says Some Good Has Come From Meghan Murphy Controversy”

A link to new interview (October 29, 2019) with Toronto City Librarian, Vickery Bowles published by The Star.

Since the interview was published the event with Meghan Murphy took place. Links to media coverage below. 

From the Introduction:

Before an appearance Tuesday evening of feminist writer Meghan Murphy at a Toronto library branch, city librarian Vickery Bowles explained the thinking behind the decision to allow Murphy to speak, which triggered widespread protest, in particular from the transgender community.

The interview runs approx. 1190 words and consists of eleven questions and responses. Here’s one exchange.

Q.  What did you learn from this [a “rigorous” review of TPL’s room booking policy].

Bowles: Well, you know, this isn’t just happening in Toronto. This is happening in libraries and other institutions throughout the world. We’re seeing challenges to free speech in government and political venues. We’re seeing it on university campuses. And we seem to be in a place where there is less tolerance for a diversity of viewpoints and civil discourse is discouraged in some instances, which I think is challenging and unfortunate.

And the public library is a place to have that kind of public discourse, to engage in civil debate on important, controversial issues.

Read the Complete Interview with Vickery Bowles

UPDATE: Coverage of Event

Video: Protest Outside Toronto Library Condemns Controversial Speaker (via CTV)

Protestors Gather Outside Public Library as Controversial Feminist Meghan Murphy Lectures to Packed Room (via The Star)

Hundreds Protest Toronto Library Event Featuring Controversial Speaker (via CBC)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.