Illinois first in US to sign legislation preventing book bans


Lika Lezhava

Myopic Books, a vintage bookstore in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood

By Lisa Chasanov, Summer Editor

Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias announced that legislation preventing book banning was signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker on Monday.

The law, also known as HB 2789, passed the Illinois House in March and the Senate in May, according to a statement by the Illinois Secretary of State’s office.

Giannoulias, who serves as the state librarian, proposed HB 2789 in response to library protests by right-wing political groups.

“The concept of banning books contradicts the very essence of what our country stands for,” Giannoulias said. “It also defies what education is all about: teaching our children to think for themselves.”

House Bill 2789 allows the Illinois Secretary of State to block funding to libraries that do not adhere to the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights. The bill also allows the secretary’s office to directly authorize funding only to libraries that provide a written statement standing against book banning and upholding the ALA’s Bill of Rights.

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    According to a statement by Giannoulias’ office, “the ALA Bill of Rights states that reading materials should not be removed or restricted because of partisan or personal disapproval.” 

    Currently, Illinois law does not contain language prohibiting libraries from restricting access to certain books.

    “This landmark law is a triumph for our democracy, a win for First Amendment Rights and a great victory for future generations,” Giannoulias said. 

    According to the Secretary of State’s office, there were 67 attempts to ban books in Illinois in 2022 and more than 2,500 different books were subject to attempted bans across the United States in 2022.

    With Monday’s approval from Pritzker, the new law will take effect on January 1.


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