Illinois’ Secretary of State calls first-of-its-kind bill ‘a triumph for our democracy, a win for First Amendment rights, and most importantly, a great victory for future generations to come’
Introduced by Illinois’ Secretary of State, Alexi Giannoulias, the bill stipulates that libraries must adopt an anti-book banning policy in order to receive state funding.
The legislation has passed both the Illinois House and the Illinois Senate and will take effect on Jan. 1, 2024, if Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs the bill as expected.
More than 1,600 grants were awarded to Illinois libraries in the last fiscal year with the total funds exceeding US$62 million.
Libraries may also develop their own written statement “prohibiting the practice of banning books or other materials within the library or library system,” if they choose not to adopt the ALA Library Bill of Rights.
“This landmark legislation is a triumph for our democracy, a win for First Amendment rights, and most importantly, a great victory for future generations to come,” Giannoulias said in a news conference earlier this month.
In March, the ALA reported that book bans and restrictions at school and public libraries hit a record high in 2022.