PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. - At the Phillipsburg Library there's a display that includes LGBTQ-related books, a topic that the American Library Association says has been the target of book bans in recent years.
In fact, The ALA says bans of materials like these have nearly doubled since 2021.
"In all of history, since the first book was printed, there have been attempts to ban books. It was wrong back then, and it's wrong today," said state Sen. Andrew Zwicker.
Zwicker has introduced a bill that won't stop book bans in New Jersey, but could impose financial consequences on state-funded public and school libraries that ban books.
Zwicker says books are chosen by trained library officials and not all families agree on what kids should read.
"This is a bill to fight for families in New Jersey for the freedom to read and choose what they want," said Zwicker. "And a few loud but quite vocal groups are trying to dictate what's happening."
"I don't support it. I won't support it," said Sen. Douglas Steinhardt.
Steinhardt agrees parents should be able to choose what their kids read, but says the bill goes too far.
"I don't know that the bill is necessary. I think it's just another example of government overreach," said Steinhardt. "I think the government tries to insert itself into the lives of too many people too often, especially when it comes to parenting kids. The parent's ability to parent their kids the way they want to."
The bill is now on its way to committee.
Zwicker says if it progresses, the details behind funding penalties for book bans will have to be worked out.