murphy 2789SPRINGFIELD – In a historic moment, Illinois has become the first state in the nation to prohibit the banning of books in libraries, thanks to a measure championed by State Senator Laura Murphy, which was signed into law Monday.

“Often times, censorship like book bans comes from fear, which is insidious. It spreads like a disease and leaves our vulnerable communities injured,” said Murphy (D-Des Plaines). “We cannot allow ourselves to give into fear – we must stand against this fear disguised as moral outrage and stand up for what we know is right.”

Under the law, 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. Illinois became the first state in the nation to ensure intellectual freedom for all across the state.

“To try to stifle access to the stories of people whose lived experiences are different from our own leaves vulnerable communities without a voice,” Murphy said. “We have a duty as lawmakers to ensure that we protect the principles on which our country was founded.”

House Bill 2789 was signed into law by the governor on Monday.