041923KP1831.JPGSPRINGFIELD – In order to protect the freedom of allowing people to read, State Senator Laura Murphy championed legislation to prevent the banning of books.

“The First Amendment protects more than just our right to speak, it includes the right to access resources from libraries that are free from censorship driven by partisan or doctrinal disapproval,” said Murphy (D-Des Plaines). “These coordinated campaigns to censor books stand as a direct affront to the principles our country was founded upon.”

Under this measure, a library or library system must adopt the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights or develop a written statement prohibiting the practice of banning books or materials in order to be eligible for state grants.

Nationally, the number of attempts to ban books has been rising, with 681 attempts involving more than 1,600 titles throughout the U.S. in 2021, according to the ALA. Seven states have passed laws to impose restrictions on libraries, including Tennessee, Oklahoma, Florida and Utah. If passed, Illinois would become the first state in the nation to ensure intellectual freedom for all across the state.

“Our libraries are an invaluable resource for our communities. They offer so much more than just books, including community services, classes, and resources,” Murphy said. “Attacks on libraries start with banning books, but it can escalate into something so much worse.”

House Bill 2789 passed the Senate Executive Committee on Wednesday. It now goes to the Senate floor for further deliberation.