What Illinois' new ban on book bans really means for libraries

Illinois last week became the first state in the country to make it more difficult for public and school libraries to ban books.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker last Monday signed a bill that makes libraries ineligible for certain state grant funding if they don't adopt the American Library Association's Bill of Rights, or similar language, that says books shall not be removed from circulation because of personal, political or religious reasons.

Proponents of book bans say they're trying to protect children from ideas they don't consider age appropriate or find otherwise objectionable, with some conservatives saying funding shortages could cause libraries to close unless they stock pornography targeting children.

But supporters of the law, like Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, say book bans "(defy) what education is all about: teaching our children to think for themselves."

For questions and answers surrounding the new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2024, go to

Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias holds his daughter Monday while brandishing a bill signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker that aims to discourage book bans at Illinois libraries. Bill sponsor Sen. Laura Murphy, a Des Plaines Democrat, is pictured at left, and Pritzker is pictured at right. Andrew Adams/Capitol News Illinois
Maya Angelou poses with a copy of her book, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," in Los Angeles two years after it was first published. The book has been the frequent target of bans. Associated Press, Nov. 3, 1971 file photo
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