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New Illinois law will defund libraries that ban content

Illinois will withhold state funding from libraries that ban content for partisan or doctrinal reasons.
New Illinois law will defund libraries that ban content
Posted at 7:34 PM, Jun 12, 2023

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a new law Monday that will withhold state funding from libraries that ban books.

After the law goes into effect on January 1, 2024, any libraries that ban or limit content because of partisan pressure will no longer receive state funding.

The law is thought to be the first of its kind in the nation.

It comes as states nationwide institute new bans or restrictions on books and other content in libraries.

The American Library Association says there were a record number of attempts to ban books in 2022.

PEN America, an organization that fights against book bans, says many of those bans targeted content by the LGBTQ+ community and by creators of color.

SEE MORE: Florida's book bans lead a wave of crackdowns in conservative states

Illinois public libraries will have to adhere to the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights if they want state funds. The bill states in part that "materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval."

Downers Grove Democratic Rep. Anne Stava-Murray sponsored the bill after her local school board faced pressure to censor certain content on shelves in school libraries.

"While it’s true that kids need guidance, and that some ideas can be objectionable, trying to weaponize local government to force one-size-fits-all standards onto the entire community for reasons of bigotry, or as a substitute for active and involved parenting, is wrong," Stava-Murray said when Gov. Pritzker signed the bill.

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