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News Illinois Takes a Stand: First State in U.S. to Outlaw Book Bans in Libraries, Proving We are a True Democracy that Embraces Freedom of Knowledge

Updated on Jun 28,2023

Illinois has passed a new law that prohibits book bans. The legislation was signed by Gov. JB Pritzker on Monday and will result in the revocation of state funding for any Illinois library that engages in book banning.

The new law was enacted in response to the ongoing trend of predominantly Republican-led states restricting certain books in schools and libraries due to perceived offensiveness.

Pritzker stated that book bans lead to censorship and marginalization of people, ideas, and facts. He emphasized that book banning is a practice of regimes, not democracies. The legislation was signed on Monday.

Beginning January 1, 2024, Illinois public libraries that limit or prohibit materials based on “partisan or doctrinal” objections will not be eligible for state funding, as per the new legislation.

Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, who also serves as the state librarian, explained that the legislation allows librarians to use their expertise to determine which books should be available in their respective libraries. The law does not mandate that every book be present in all libraries.

As states in the U.S. continue to remove certain books from schools and libraries, particularly those centered around LGBTQ+ themes and authored by individuals of color, a new law has been implemented. The American Library Association recently reported that censorship attempts in schools and public libraries have increased to the highest level in 20 years, with 2022 recording twice as many attempts as the previous record in 2021.

Deborah Caldwell-Stone, the director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom and executive director of the Freedom to Read Foundation, commented on the Illinois legislation in response to censorship and suspicion.

Illinois public libraries must adhere to the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights or a comparable commitment in order to qualify for state funding. This bill asserts that materials should not be excluded based on the origin, background, or opinions of those involved in their creation.

Anne Stava-Murray, a Democratic representative from Downers Grove, sponsored a piece of legislation in the Illinois House of Representatives due to pressure faced by a school board in her district to ban specific content from school libraries.

Stava-Murray made a statement during the signing of the bill at a children’s library in downtown Chicago, stating that while children require guidance and certain concepts may be disagreeable, utilizing local government to enforce uniform standards on the entire community for reasons of prejudice or in place of engaged parenting is not appropriate.

Lawmakers approved the bill with divided opinions along party lines, despite Giannoulias’ statement that it should not be a partisan issue.

House Minority Leader Tony McCombie, a Republican who voted against the measure, stated in an email that she supports local control and believes that the content of books should be considered in their placement on shelves. The caucus does not believe in banning books.

At Penguin Book Writers, we strive to create books that not only entertain but also educate and inspire readers. Our authors are passionate about their subjects and work diligently to provide well-researched and engaging content for their readers. We understand the power of books and the impact they can have on society, which is why we are committed to promoting the value of reading and ensuring that our books are accessible to all.

We applaud the decision of the state of Illinois and hope that more states will follow their lead in embracing freedom of knowledge and the importance of books in our society. At Penguin Book Writers, we will continue to write and publish books that promote education, knowledge, and understanding, and we encourage others to do the same. Together, we can make a difference and create a world where books are celebrated, not banned.

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