America has been mired in authoritarianism in recent years, rising up against anything that is different, and partaking in a form of religious fervour that has no place in a modern world. This has been reflected in many book bans in schools and libraries, but one state is standing up against this censorship as Illinois bans book bans.
On Monday, Pritzker signed a bill into law to prohibit public schools and libraries from banning books, saying it’s the only one of its kind in the country.
“Book bans are about censorship, marginalizing people, marginalizing ideas and facts. Regimes banned books, not democracies,” Pritzker, a Democrat, said at a bill signing ceremony at a Chicago library. “We refuse to let a vitriolic strain of White nationalism coursing through our country determine whose histories are told, not in Illinois.”
The new law comes into place on 1st January, 2024 and states that public libraries must adopt the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights or their own statement prohibiting book banning to be eligible for state money.
The association’s Library Bill of Rights states that reading materials “should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval” or “excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.”
It’s a time of record challenges and increasing censorship. In March of this year, there were 1,269 calls to censor library books and resources and the vast number of these are books written by authors of colour, or the LGBTQ community who are disproportionately affected by bannings and censorship.
The banning of books contradicts the very idea of American freedoms, and we can only hope this madness ends soon.