Illinois became the first state to outlaw book banning in the country on Monday.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker made the announcement and signed the bill on June 13. The law prevents public schools and libraries from banning books.
Illinois Passes Bill to Ban Book Banning
“Book bans are about censorship, marginalizing people, marginalizing ideas and facts. Regimes banned books, not democracies,” Pritzker,said at the bill signing ceremony which took place at a library. “We refuse to let a vitriolic strain of White nationalism coursing through our country determine whose histories are told, not in Illinois.”
The bill won’t take effect until January 1st, 2024 will withhold state money from schools and libraries that do not adopt the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights or make their own statement that prohibits book banning.
Enforcing New Bill to Outlaw Book Banning
The ALA’s Bill of Rights says that reading materials “should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval” or “excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.”
This law is being passed at a time when books are being banned at an unprecedented rate. Books are being challenged or banned at every level as well as states and cities passing laws to ban books that are “controversial”
A Record Number of Books Banned
In the first three months of 2022, a record was set with the number of books challenged to be censored. According to ALA, there were 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources.
“A record 2,571 unique titles were targeted for censorship,” the ALA said. “The vast majority were written by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ community and people of color.”