Libraries celebrate National Banned Books Week as censorship increases

Published: Oct. 4, 2023 at 10:15 PM EDT
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BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- 2023 is on track to break the record for most banned books in a year, according to preliminary data from the American Library Association.

Libraries in Broome and Tompkins counties are celebrating National Banned Books Week week as the number of challenged books continues to grow. In New York State for 2022, ALA recorded 33 attempts to restrict access to books, with 82 titles challenged in those attempts.

“We don’t want to ban books,” said Assistant Library Director for Broome County Public Library Sherry Kowalski. “Just because one person or a group of people don’t feel they’re appropriate, we want to have books available for everyone.”

LGBTQ+ stories are being challenged, censored, and banned in libraries more often than any other books.

“Books that have to do with ideas of gender identity, sexuality, things that have traditionally been sort of hot button topics are the books being banned,” said Tompkins County Public Library Director Leslie Tabor.

In June, Vicki Johnson released her book “Molly’s Tuxedo” and although it hasn’t been banned yet, she believes it could be taken off the shelves next.

“I anticipate, unfortunately, it could be the case,” Johnson said. “People of color and LGBTQ people, creators, writers, illustrators. We’re all seeing it right now. And it’s it’s really sad for all of us.”

Molly’s Tuxedo and the most commonly banned books are on display in libraries across the Greater Binghamton area and available for checkout.