A conservative advocacy group called Citizens Defending Education has been trying to remove six books with LGBTQ+ themes from the Glen Ridge Public Library, claiming that they are inappropriate and harmful for minors. The group filed formal requests to have the books removed or restricted from the library’s shelves and asked the library board of trustees to consider their complaints. The six books are:
- Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
- Drama by Raina Telgemeier
- George by Alex Gino
- Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart
- Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth
- The Pants Project by Cat Clarke
A grassroots group called Glen Ridge United Against Book Bans formed to voice their opposition and support the library’s freedom to provide diverse and inclusive books for all readers. The group’s attempt to ban the books sparked an intense backlash from the Glen Ridge community, LGBTQ+ advocates, and civil rights organizations. The group organized a petition signed by more than 2,900 Glen Ridge residents, as well as 300 yard signs displayed around the borough and a rally that took place before the library board’s meeting on February 8, 2023. Nearly a thousand people filled the Ridgewood Avenue Middle School auditorium that evening to attend the conference and express their views on the book challenges. Most of them favored keeping the books in the library. They denounced the group’s attempt to censor and discriminate against LGBTQ+ people and literature.
The library board of trustees unanimously voted to reject the book challenges and keep the books in the library, following the recommendation of the library director and the American Library Association’s guidelines on intellectual freedom and access to information. The board’s decision was met with applause and cheers from the audience, who celebrated the victory of diversity and tolerance over bigotry and ignorance. The library board also affirmed its commitment to serving the needs and interests of the Glen Ridge community and providing a safe and welcoming space for all library users.