Illinois: First-in-the-Nation Legislation to Prevent Book Bans Approved by General Assembly as Bill Passes Senate, Governor Expected to Sign
From the Illinois Sec. of State:
Landmark legislation designed to prevent book banning passed the Illinois Senate, Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias announced today.
HB 2789, which now awaits the Governor’s signature, sets a nationwide precedent in the fight against book bans, as libraries and librarians face unprecedented censorship of books and resources, including in Illinois. The bill passed the Illinois House in March.
Giannoulias, who also serves as the State Librarian, initiated HB 2789 after extremist groups – including the far-right nationalist group, the Proud Boys – targeted Illinois libraries, divided communities and harassed librarians, despite that the books are not required reading.
House Bill 2789, sponsored by State Rep. Anne Stava-Murray (81st District – Downers Grove) and Sen. Laura Murphy (28th District – Elk Grove Village), allow Giannoulias’ office to authorize grant funding only to libraries that adhere to the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights states that reading materials should not be removed or restricted because of partisan or personal disapproval, or that issue a statement prohibiting the practice of banning books or resources.
Currently, Illinois law does not contain language related to book banning or the eligibility for state grants if a library bans items from its collection. Last fiscal year, the Secretary of State’s office awarded 1,631 grants to Illinois libraries totaling more than $62 million. Of those, 97% of the grants were awarded to public and school libraries, with public libraries receiving 877 grants and school libraries securing 712 grants.
If signed into law, HB 2789 would take effect on January 1, 2024.
More From Politico:
The final version of House Bill 2789 passed the state Senate 39 to 19 after it was approved in March by the House on a 66 to 39 vote.
The bill says that in order for public libraries, including in public schools and universities, to remain eligible for grant funding, they must adopt the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights or adopt their own written statement prohibiting the banning of books.
A library that doesn’t certify either of the statements, or takes the next step of banning a book, will not be eligible for grant funding from the secretary of state, according to the secretary’s office.
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Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.