book bansSPRINGFIELD – Illinois will become the first state in the nation to prohibit the banning of books in libraries, thanks to a measure championed by State Senator Laura Murphy that takes effect Jan. 1, 2024.

“Illinois is the first to take a stand and tell the rest of the country that we won’t bend to censorship,” said Murphy (D-Des Plaines). “I am proud we are standing up for First Amendment rights and standing against partisan and doctrinal book bans.”

Nationally, the number of attempts to ban books has been on the rise, with 681 attempts involving more than 1,600 titles throughout the U.S. in 2021, according to the American Library Association. Seven states have passed laws to impose restrictions on libraries, including Tennessee, Oklahoma, Florida and Utah.

The increasing rate of attempts to ban reading materials led Murphy to champion House Bill 2789, which was signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker on July 12, 2023. Thanks to Murphy’s law, Illinois is the first state in the nation to ensure intellectual freedom for all across the state.

Under the law, a library or library system must adopt the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights or develop a written statement prohibiting the practice of banning books or materials in order to be eligible for state grants.

“When we limit the access to ideas, we stifle the curiosity of future generations,” Murphy said. “The world is a challenging place, and by censoring and banning books that we might find difficult, we hinder the mental and emotional growth of readers.”

House Bill 2789 takes effect Jan. 1.