FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - The library system wants to be a safe space for curious minds in search of titles that are becoming harder and harder to find.

The Broward County Public Library plans to become a book sanctuary.

“We are highlighting books that have been banned or challenged, not only here in Florida, but throughout the entire United States,” said Allison Grubbs, director of the Broward County Library.

More that 2,000 such sanctuaries already exist across the country.

The move comes in time for the celebration of National Library Week, which starts Sunday.

“Providing an area where people have the freedom to read, the freedom to access different ideas is really critical to civic engagement,” Grubbs said.

It comes as school libraries have seen more and more books challenged or outright removed.

Laws like the recently expanded Parental Rights in Education in Florida, known by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” law and the “Stop Woke Act,” which limits how race relations can be taught, have made teachers and school districts think twice about what sort of books are on the shelves.

It’s caused anxiety for Florida teachers, some even feeling the need to cover up their in-classroom libraries.

“I think this idea of what we’re seeing in Florida right now, It’s interfering with the importance of reading for our kids,” said Andrew Spar, president of the Florida Education Association.

It’s been an issue across the country.

The American Library Association came out with a review last fall that found attempted book bannings and restrictions reached a high not seen in decades, last year, with Florida ranked second by Pen America, a First Amendment organization that focuses on access to works of literature. Their banned book index found six titles were removed from Broward school libraries last year, most of which features LGBTQ characters prominently.

The Broward County Library sees this as a public service.

“We are protectors of the freedom of speech and the freedom to read, the freedom to think and engage and learn more,” Grubbs said.

The Broward County Library also plans on hosting special book sanctuary events at libraries throughout the year, which features banned and challenged material.

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