Date: September 1, 2023

RE: VALE Statement Against Censorship and in Support of New Jersey School and Public Librarians

VALE would like to express our deep concern over a growing number of organized attempts of censorship and suppression in schools and libraries in New Jersey (NJ) and across the country. Many of these attacks are targeting materials and programs that address race, racism, sexuality, and gender identity and expression that will have disparate impacts on schoolchildren across NJ and the nation.

VALE opposes any efforts to censor books in U.S. schools and libraries, as well as initiatives to censor resources addressing race, ethnicity, gender identity, or sexual orientation themes. Any such efforts violate students’ first amendment rights and the ability to access and obtain a quality education.

VALE strongly affirms the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and Freedom to Read Statement, first published in 1953. Libraries provide access to books and other library resources and services for the interest, information, education, and enlightenment of all people within the communities they serve. Materials are not excluded because of their origin, background, or the views of those contributing to their creation.

Library staff are trained to curate collections that are designed to be inclusive. Information service providers are guided by the tenets of intellectual freedom and by ethical responsibilities to uphold the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. Through careful consideration and rigorous training, librarians and library workers are equipped to make selection decisions that represent a balance of the spectrum of knowledge.

VALE acknowledges the right and responsibility of parents and guardians to guide the reading choices of their children. Such rights should not in any way inhibit the rights of others to read or view any materials of their choosing.

VALE rejects past, current, and future efforts to remove materials from the reach of any reader. Concerted efforts by groups who disavow racial equity, self-determination, and/or gender identity and expression undermine intellectual freedom. Such efforts also inhibit knowledge and place barriers to learning.

VALE stands alongside the New Jersey Library Association, the New Jersey Association of School Librarians, the American Library Association, and other organizations that support the freedom to read. In addition, VALE stands in support of New Jersey’s library workers, community members, and students, who demonstrate daily courage as champions of the right to an uninhibited freedom to read and the use of equitable reconsideration policies, and collections with diverse representation.

VALE subsequently endorses the following statements:

American Library Association. (2023). “Toolkit.” Unite Against Book Bans. Retrieved on July 31, 2023, from

This statement by VALE is endorsed by:

VALE Executive Committee Officers

  • Ann Hoang, VALE Executive Committee (EC) Chair, University Librarian, New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • Marilyn Ochoa, VALE EC Vice Chair/Chair Elect, Library Director, Middlesex College
  • Taras Pavlovsky, VALE Treasurer, Dean of the Library, The College of New Jersey
  • Alison Cole, VALE Program Manager

VALE Executive Committee Members

  • Consuella Askew, Vice President for University Libraries/University Librarian, Rutgers University
  • Ana Fontoura, University Librarian, Fairleigh Dickinson University
  • Isabel Gray, Library Director, Camden County College
  • Muhammad Hassan, Executive Director, Kean University
  • Janet Hauge, Director of Academic Support Services, Atlantic Cape Community College
  • Robert Hilliker, Associate Provost for Library Information Services, Rowan University
  • Leigh Keller, Library Director, Ramapo College
  • Donna Rosinski-Kauz, Director of Library Services, Ocean County College
  • Kurt W. Wagner, University Librarian, Monmouth University

Members of the VALE NJ community can continue to endorse this statement here. Your name will be listed below.

VALE Support Statement PDF

VALE Members’ Council Members

  • Jeffrey C. Donnelly, Director of Library Services, Georgian Court University SMJC Library
  • Victoria Swanson, Library Director, Jennings Library, Caldwell University
  • Jodi Shelly, Director of Library Services, Felician University
  • Daisy DeCoster, Library Director, Saint Peter’s University
  • John Hernandez, Dean of College Libraries, Hudson County Community College

VALE Community Members

  • John Kromer, Associate University Librarian for Research & Engagement, New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • Drew Wallace, Research & Reference Librarian, Montclair State University
  • Rebeca C. Jefferson, Health & Life Sciences Librarian, The College of New Jersey
  • Rhonda Marker, Interim Associate University Librarian, Rutgers University-Newark
  • Kelsey Gallagher Mambach, Assistant Director of Libraries, Union College of Union County, NJ Libraries
  • Lisa Bogart, Director, NHC Library, Hudson County Community College
  • Heather Smith, Reference & Instruction Librarian, Mercer County Community College
  • Caitlin Connelly, Collection Services & Electronic Resources Librarian, Georgian Court University
  • Laura Giacobbe, Specialist Librarian, Monmouth University
  • Christine Stevenson, Outreach & User Engagement Librarian, Georgian Court University, SMJC Library
  • Barbara A. Williams, RSM, University Archivist/Librarian, Georgian Court University
  • Bonnie Fong, Head for Research & Reference Services, Montclair State University
  • Maria Deptula, Medical Collections Librarian, Rutgers University
  • William Vincenti, Reference Librarian, Harry A. Sprague Library, Montclair State University
  • Denise O’Shea, Associate Dean for Collections & Discovery, Montclair State University
  • Sam Wittenberg, System & Development Librarian, Ramapo College of New Jersey
  • Lisa Price, Research Support Librarian, Rowan – Virtual School of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Barbara A. Williams, RSM, University Archivist/Librarian, Georgian Court University SMJC Library
  • Dr. Kate McGivern, Reference & Instruction Librarian, Bergen Community College
  • David Biel, Research & Instruction Librarian, Fairleigh Dickinson University
  • Karen Venturella, Librarian, Union College
  • Liz Siecke, Librarian, Ramapo College
  • Jeffrey Teichmann, Access Services Supervisor, Rutgers University
  • David C. Murray, Humanities Librarian / Associate Professor in the Library, The College of New Jersey
  • Kate Hossain, Librarian, Bergen Community College
  • Adrienne E. Bross, Electronic Resources Librarian, Saint Elizabeth University
  • Elsa Bruguier, Librarian, Union College
  • Patti Schmid, Senior Head Librarian, Rowan College of South Jersey – Cumberland Campus
  • John T. Oliver, Information Literacy Librarian, The College of New Jersey
  • Andrea Baer, Public Services Librarian/Assistant Professor in the Library, Rowan University
  • Katie Elson Anderson, Reference and Instruction Librarian, Rutgers University – Camden
  • Charles Dolan, Technical Services Librarian, Middlesex College
  • Erin Ackerman, Interim Assistant Director for Public Services & Social Sciences Librarian, The College of New Jersey