Home » News » ‘First of its kind’ Ill. law will penalize libraries that ban books

By Dr, Vaughn James on June 20, 2023

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Photo courtesy iStock

Photo courtesy iStock

 

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on June 11 signed into law a bill that he says will make Illinois the first state in the nation to outlaw book bans.

 

Illinois public libraries that restrict or ban materials because of “partisan or doctrinal” disapproval will be ineligible for state funding as of Jan. 1, 2024, when the new law goes into effect.

 

“We are not saying that every book should be in every single library,” said Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, who is also the state librarian and was the driving force behind the legislation. “What this law does is it says, Let’s trust our experience and education of our librarians to decide what books should be in circulation.”

 

The new law comes into play as states across the U.S. push to remove certain books in schools and libraries, especially those about LGBTQ+ themes and racial themes. The American Library Association in March announced that attempts to censor books in schools and public libraries reached a 20-year high in 2022 — twice as many as 2021, the previous record.

 

Related

 

When are book bans unconstitutional? A First Amendment scholar explains | The Free Speech Center (mtsu.edu)

 

School library book bans are seen as targeting LGBTQ content |  AP News

 

Banned Books Week: Book bans reflect outdated beliefs about how children read | The Free Speech Center (mtsu.edu)

 

Amanda Gorman’s poem for Biden’s inauguration banned by Fla. school | The Free Speech Center (mtsu.edu)

 

N.C. school district takes 41 books off shelves ‘for review’ | The Free Speech Center (mtsu.edu)

 

Dennis Hetzel contributed to this story.

 

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