Bill denying funds for libraries banning books heads to Senate floor

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) — Illinois could soon block local elected leaders from banning books in public libraries. 

The Secretary of State’s Office is leading the effort to require libraries to reject any attempts to ban books in order to receive state funding. Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias is in charge of the State Library and administers grant programs for public libraries.

Sponsors say books should never be removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval. They also argue that librarians are trained to determine which books are appropriate to have on display for readers to check out. 

Sen. Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) said books should never be removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

However, Republicans are upset that this change would also apply to school libraries. Sen. Neil Anderson (R-Moline) said votes and opinions from school boards should still matter when it comes to books allowed in local schools.

“My big concern here is that we are again taking away the ability for local control and saying that we know what’s best and you’re crap out of luck,” Anderson said.

Under House Bill 2789, libraries and library systems failing to disallow the banning of books could be ineligible for state grants starting in 2024. 

“In order to be eligible for a state grant, the library or library system must adopt the American Library Association Library Bill of Rights or develop a written statement prohibiting the practice of banning books and materials,” said Sen. Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines). 

This proposal passed out of the Senate Executive Committee on a 7-2 vote. It now heads to the Senate floor for further consideration. 

The plan passed out of the House on a partisan 69-39 vote on March 22. If approved by the full Senate, the bill will head to Gov. JB Pritzker’s desk for his signature.

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April 19, 2023 at 07:53PM

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