Illinois Legislature Passes Ban on Book Bans
The bill passed through the Illinois legislature with a 39 to 19 vote in the Senate and a 66 to 39 vote in the House of Representatives.
The law will apply to all 1,600 public and school libraries (including public colleges and universities) and will withhold state funding if books are removed from shelves. Illinois distributes about $62 million to libraries annually.
Libraries must either adopt the American Library Association’s “Library Bill of Rights” or write their own statement banning book bans. If a library does not adopt a statement or takes measures to ban a book, the library will not be eligible for state funds.
The idea to ban book bans originated with Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias whose office oversees library grants. Giannoulias states he couldn’t believe book bans were happening in 2023: “It is so blatant, and so dangerous. I was blown away. [Book bans are] “about restricting the freedom of ideas that certain individuals disagree with and that certain individuals think others should have access to…. All these efforts to curb reading materials have absolutely nothing to do with books. They are about restricting the freedom of ideas that certain individuals disagree with and that certain individuals think others should have access to.
Other legislators were not keen on the ban. State Senator Jason Plummer asserts that the law “pushing an ideology on Illinois citizens, regardless of where they live or what they believe,” and further that it is “offensive to take away public funds from people whose taxes paid for these grants.”
1. Should parents or other adults be able to ban books from schools and libraries? Why or why not?
2. Should state or local governments be able to ban book bans? Explain your answer(s)?
3. Should the federal government take up the issue and ban book bans? Explain your answer(s).
Shia Kapos, “Illinois Set to Become First State to End Book Bans,” politico.com, May 3, 2023