050323KP2372SPRINGFIELD – To protect people’s freedom to read, State Senator Laura Murphy passed legislation to prevent the banning of books.

“Our nation’s libraries have been under attack for too long—they are bastions of knowledge and proliferate the spread of ideas,” said Murphy (D-Des Plaines). “We have a duty as lawmakers to protect the rights of our people—including the First Amendment right to freedom of speech and expression.”

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 on the rise, 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 signed into law, Illinois would become the first state in the nation to ensure intellectual freedom for all across the state.

“Libraries are the beating heart of our communities, providing vital knowledge and invaluable services that allow our communities to thrive,” Murphy said. “Librarians are trained professionals, and we need to trust that they will stock our libraries with appropriate materials—they were hired for their expertise, and they deserve our respect.”

House Bill 2789 passed the Senate on Wednesday.