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NYC Council examining New York Public Library's efforts to increase access to banned books

NYC Council looking into NYPL's work to combat book bans
NYC Council looking into NYPL's work to combat book bans 01:31

NEW YORK -- New York City's public libraries are leading a push to increase access to books that are being banned in other cities.

As book ban attempts increase nationwide, the city's libraries have been fighting against censorship. Now, a City Council hearing will focus on their efforts. 

Last year, the American Library Association recorded censorship attempts on nearly 2,000 books across 32 states -- the highest number in two decades.

Half of the attempts occurred in public libraries, and the vast majority of targeted books were about people of color or the LGBTQ community.

While there are no banned books in New York, local library systems have created initiatives, such as banned book clubs and writing contests, to make censored materials more accessible to teenagers across the country.

"We want to ensure that we're not limiting the range of books in which students can see themselves and their peers represented," Councilmember Carlina Rivera said.

Representatives from the New York and Brooklyn Public Libraries are expected to testify at Monday's hearing on the importance of open access.

"We are fighting it, because it is not OK for a parent to be able to have an influence on the material that other people's children read," said Brooklyn Public Library President & CEO Linda Johnson.

With libraries already facing budget cuts, advocates say they want to ensure these programs are protected.

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