Home Culture Hoboken Becomes The First Book Sanctuary City in New Jersey

Hoboken Becomes The First Book Sanctuary City in New Jersey

by Bertha Solis
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For the first time ever, New Jersey will have a book sanctuary city. On Wednesday, September 6th, Hoboken City Council voted on a final decision on Hoboken becoming an official book sanctuary city — the first in New Jersey. This decision has been influenced by a movement that began in Chicago back in 2022 as a response to the massive bans imposed on literature. Read to learn about what this means for Hoboken. 

hoboken book sanctuary city new jersey

What We Know

The movement surrounding Hoboken becoming a book sanctuary city was initiated by Hoboken City Council. As of right now, there are 2739 book sanctuaries in the United States. The term “book sanctuary” means that endangered books have a safe place and are protected from censorship. Hoboken has been in support of this movement — as supporters previously held a Banned Book Read-A-Thon in June.

Read More: A Chat with Hoboken Public Library’s Director, Jennie Pu

Hoboken City Council President Emily Jabbour has shared that, “It is more important than ever that communities acknowledge the need to establish safe spaces to tell and share stories that are being censored around the country — most often the stories of people of color and the LGBTQ+ community.”

Therefore, on Wednesday, the council came to the decision to declare Hoboken becoming a book sanctuary city, it is the first-ever New Jersey city to adopt this new vote. Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla commented via press release that “Hoboken’s rich history and vibrant community make it the perfect place for a Book Sanctuary.”

See More: A Guide to Bookstores in Essex County

In June, Hoboken Public Library’s Banned Book Read-a-thon included the readings of several books across the country. There were hateful messages targeted at the event, however, it did not stop the event from going on. Councilman Phil Cohen shared what he hopes can come out of this pending decision. “I hope other New Jersey governing bodies join Hoboken and Chicago to support their libraries as part of the “Read-sistance.”

We will keep you updated as news about this vote unfolds — in the meantime, stay in the know by following @thehobokengirl on Instagram + TikTok.

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