Hastings fights to protect Illinoisans’ right to read, pushes law prohibiting libraries from banning books
State Senator Michael E. Hastings fights to protect Illinoisans’ right to read. New law would ban the banning of books by local libraries
A measure requiring libraries or library systems to adopt the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights barring the action of banning books and materials in order to qualify for state grants was approved this week with the support of State Senator Michael Hastings (D-Frankfort).
The new law, House Bill 2789, passed both the House and the Senate and is awaiting the signature of Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
“Our libraries create opportunity for residents to explore the world,” Hastings said.
“Banning books closes the door on open dialogue in our communities. We should not be in the practice of limiting access to thought provoking literary resources.”
Attempted book bans and restrictions at school and public libraries continue to surge, setting a record in 2022, according to a new report from the American Library Association.
Hastings worked with his colleagues to help disincentivize these practices in Illinois libraries.
Several states including Arizona, Iowa, Texas, Missouri, Florida and Oklahoma, have adopted forms of book bans. Hastings believes the state’s proactive steps will help prevent these restrictive actions in Illinois.
The language of the proposed law, pending the governor’s signature, is clear, stating libraries must adhere to the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights that indicates “materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval or, in the alternative, develop a written statement prohibiting the banning of books or other materials within the library or library system” in order to receive state grants.”