During a time when book ban attempts are hitting a record high across the United States, Illinois is taking a stand against the process, making it punitive for libraries who choose to engage in the practice.

This week, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a new law that seeks to outlaw the banning of books. As it states, the law looks to punish Illinois public libraries that restrict or ban materials due to "partisan or doctrinal" disapproval by making them ineligible for state funding. The new law goes into effect on January 1st, 2024.

Fittingly, Pritzker signed the bill at a Chicago library and addressed the public and media before doing so:

Book bans are about censorship, marginalizing people, marginalizing ideas and facts. Regimes banned books, not democracies [.....] We refuse to let a vitriolic strain of White nationalism coursing through our country determine whose histories are told, not in Illinois.

The bill gives power to librarians in the regard that they should be capable and unbiased when it comes to putting certain books in circulation. It's not about mandating that every single book be available in every single library, as noted by Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, one of the biggest proponents of the legislation.

Photo Credit: Scott Olson, Getty Images
Photo Credit: Scott Olson, Getty Images

Some of the most banned books in the United States include To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, per CBS News.

The passage of this law in the month of June is no coincidence. Across the United States, schools and libraries have been clearing shelves of books with LGBTQ+ themes as well as books by people of color. The American Library Association announced earlier this year that there was a 20-year high in censorship and book banning in 2022. Over 2,500 were targeted.

Read more about the new Illinois law on CNN.


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