More than Empty Shelves: How Book Bans Undermine Identities and Restrict Information

October 2, 2023 @ 6:00 pm 7:30 pm

On October 2, the ACLU of New Jersey will bring together leading experts for a discussion on how book bans threaten the very foundation of our democracy – and how we have a responsibility to protect the right to freely speak, think, read, and write.  

In recent years across the nation, we've seen a resurgence of systematic attempts to ban books from libraries, classrooms, and curriculums with the aim to undermine experiences across all races, genders, and sexualities. Even though New Jersey has been a national leader in protecting and expanding civil rights and liberties, there have been censorship attempts across the state this year.  

Restricting access to under-represented voices is intended to invalidate marginalized identities and has no place in a healthy democracy. The opportunity to learn about experiences different than our own is a fundamental part of what allows our state, and our country, to achieve inclusive progress. As the right to access information is under attack around the country, New Jersey has an obligation to fight back, and to lead by example in defending it. 

This event will be moderated by ACLU-NJ Legal Director Jeanne LoCicero. Panelists include:   

  • Martha Hickson, New Jersey Library Association 2023 Librarian of the Year 
  • Kasey Meehan, Freedom to Read Program Director at PEN America
  • Brielle Winslow-Majette, Deputy Director of Garden State Equality 

This event will also be livestreamed on the ACLU of New Jersey’s Facebook page. 

Thank you to the Princeton Public Library, Princeton University Press, the Princeton Gender + Sexuality Resource Center, and Labyrinth Books for their support of this event.