Dear Neighbors,

With the drive to ban books, especially ones with LGBQT+ themes, reaching a fevered pitch in our nation, I was proud to join many other Hobokenites this past Saturday at the Banned Book Read-A-Thon, organized by our public library.
Book banning is not an imagined problem - there were more than 1,200 attempts to ban books at public libraries in 2022, more than twice as many as in 2021, according to the American Library Association.  
As I observed at the event, the books read were heartwarming stories meant for a young audience using a child’s voice and perspective on LBGTQ+ issues. There were children and adults of all ages in attendance.  As a parent, I came away with additional age-appropriate ways in which I might discuss these issues with the younger members of my family. 
It was especially disappointing that false information, some containing graphic imagery, was widely spread on social media about the content of the children’s books to be read.  As your councilperson, my aim will always be to distribute truth and facts and condemn fear-mongering masked as information.  I was disappointed that a number of elected officials, including our Councilmember, were publicly silent for days as the false posts went viral.  
I believe elected officials have an obligation to protect the integrity of information circulating about public institutions and events and speak up when the facts are misrepresented.  This is even more important on topics that may stir debate.  We may not agree on conclusions, but we should have a public discussion based on accurate facts.  The suggestion that our public library would choose books with explicit sexual content (as was spread across social media) was both untrue and an insult to the integrity of our library.
The Hoboken Public Library is a vital resource for our community. Besides standing up against censorship, the library boasts an impressive physical and digital book catalogue and offers a wide range of services for kids and adults: from the popular youth art in the park program to social services for navigating programs like SSI and Medicare.  To learn more, visit their website or follow Hoboken Public Library on social media
As a matter of policy, I strongly support the expansion of the library through the new planned uptown branch, and look forward to the activities that will come online at this location. 
Additionally, if elected, I will advocate for the expansion of library services currently located at the Multi-Service Center, and will push for this to include a larger community space with more expansive services geared towards our growing teen population.
If elected, I look forward to working cooperatively with my colleagues on providing more information on important resources the library and our other institutions offer, as well as always standing up against misinformation that has the effect of marginalizing our LGBTQ+ and other minority communities.
That is what I have done as a private citizen. That is what I will do as a Councilmember.
Marla Decker
Follow me on Facebook here, and check out my website here.
Paid for by Marla Decker for Hoboken City Council Ward 2
1500 Garden St.
Hoboken, NJ 07030