MONTCLAIR, NJ (Jan. 26, 2023) – Essex County Commissioner Brendan Gill issued a statement Thursday regarding a group’s attempt to ban books from the Glen Ridge Public Library.

“Few of our rights and freedoms capture the values of this country and ensure our democracy more than the freedom of speech and expression, and few institutions should embody those values more than government-funded public libraries. That’s why the movement in Glen Ridge to ban books from the public library is so egregious, particularly when the subject of those books—gender identity and sexual orientation—speak directly to a person’s right and freedom to express who they are.

“In this case, this movement is posing a direct threat to the health and safety of our young people, and if you don’t believe that, consider this: According to a 2022 report from the Trevor Project, in the past year 40 percent of LGBTQ youth in New Jersey seriously considered suicide and 14 percent attempted it—yet the same research also shows that these statistics dramatically reverse themselves when LGBTQ youths feel accepted and supported by their families, communities and schools. Our efforts should be directed at creating these communities of support and acceptance, not trying to silence viewpoints with which we don’t agree. I fully support the Glen Ridge Library and the local residents who are standing up to this attack on our democracy to defend and preserve the free exchange of ideas,” said Gill.

Glen Ridge United Against Book Bans, a dedicated group of parents, residents, clergy, and educators who are fighting the ban and bringing awareness to the issue with a petition, as well as yard signs and plans for a rally.

Glen Ridge residents who want to oppose the proposed ban can sign this petition and are encouraged to write letters to the library board by February 6th, to the attention of (Comments submitted in writing or by email must include the individual’s name and address, and clearly indicate that this is correspondence to be shared with the Board of Trustees.)

Glen Ridge United Against Book Bans urges residents come to the February 8th Library Board of Trustees Meeting to voice their opposition (buy a T-shirt to wear here)

For more information and to receive details on plans for a rally, visit

3 replies on “Essex County Commissioner Condemns Attempt to Ban Books in Glen Ridge”

  1. In school districts from Minnesota to Pennsylvania, Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird and others have also been banned. Politicians sometimes get things right, sometimes not, but everywhere, they know which way the wind blows.

    Which brings us to Brendan Gill. Suddenly, having not heard a peep from him for years, he’s raging against the ignorance machine in Glen Ridge, riding to the rescue in Watchung Plaza (Stop Lights! Our Hero!), showing up at ribbon cutting ceremonies. Maybe he’ll be the Cherry Blossom King in Branch Brook this spring. Who knows? But one thing’s for certain: Sean Spiller isn’t the only one reading tea leaves.

  2. I guess it’s a question for Martin, Frank, et al. Is it common for county commissioners to get so involved in the workings of a small-town library? And then to throw around phrases like “standing up against this threat to our democracy…”? Doesn’t that sound straight out of Cory Spiller’s “Protecting Our Democracy” super-PAC? (I’m sorry, did I say Cory? Of course I met, ah, whoever). For the sake of human decency, we have enough of this stuff with our own mayor. Now we need a county exec?

  3. Yes. Yes. Maybe. Sure.
    The bully pulpit is bestowed automatically upon election or appointment and is a their key asset. It is not unique to the Board of Commissioners. As you noted, Commissioner Gill has been relatively reserved in using it – hence, the uptick in use is noticeable to you.

    If I recall correctly, Glen Ridge got rid of the librarian position for one of their schools.

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