Credit: Glen Ridge Public Library
In Essex County, New Jersey, a debate over library books has gripped the town of Glen Ridge. Not unlike other spots across the country, there’s disagreement amongst parents as to what reading materials are appropriate for children – especially concerning topics like sexuality, LGBTQ relationships, critical race theory, and other controversial subjects.
Glen Ridge, a commuter town of 7,700 people, is a leafy suburb known for its strong school system. Last year, a group of parents comprising Citizens Defending Education Glen Ridge raised objections with the Glen Ridge Public Library’s administration. Specifically, they highlighted six books they thought should be considered for removal: All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johson, Here and Queer by Rowan Ellis and Jacky Sheridan, It’s Not the Stork by Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley, It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberle, This Book is Gay by James Dawson, and You Know, Sex by Cory Silverberg.
The original request to consider the book’s removal was denied, but an appeal was filed.
We had a chance to chat with Fran Deacon, a Glen Ridge resident and mother of three, and a member of Citizens Defending Education, Glen Ridge.
But Erin Ackerman, a mother in her own right who has kids in Glen Ridge schools, explained why she and other town residents think the books should stay.
The library’s board is holding a meeting Wednesday night where public comments will be heard, and ultimately a decision on the appeal is expected. In the meantime, the town has been divided by the issue with lawn signs visible that read “Glen Ridge United Against Book Bans” Members of Citizens Defending Education say they’ve received hate mail and veiled threats, including accusations of homophobia and white supremacy.