Illinois becomes first state to prohibit book bans


Daily file photo by Madison Smith

Evanston Public Library. Wilburn will start her duties as executive director on Nov. 13.

Divya Bhardwaj, Print Managing Editor

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill Monday that will prohibit book bans in Illinois public schools and community libraries, effective Jan. 1, 2024. Illinois is the first state to forbid the practice. 

During the first half of the 2022-23 academic year, the number of book bans in public schools across the country increased by 28%, according to Pen America. In conservative states, book bans are more prolific. 

Thirty percent of books banned during that time concern race, discuss racism or include characters of color. Twenty-six percent have LGBTQ characters or themes.

“There are few perils to our democracy as dangerous as book bans,” Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery said in a statement. “They threaten the very freedom of thought and speech that underpin our republic … At a time when some other states are fanning the flames of racism and LGBTQ+ hate, we’re proud that Illinois has once again taken a stand for what is right.” 

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