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Illinois bans book bans; Lansing Public Library largely unaffected

Governor JB Pritzker signs HB2789

CHICAGO, Ill. (June 13, 2023) — Yesterday Governor JB Pritzker and other officials gathered at the Harold Washington Library to sign legislation outlawing book bans in Illinois, making Illinois the first state in the nation to enact such legislation.

At the Lansing Public Library in Lansing, Illinois, Director Lisa Korajczyk anticipates the bill will not have much impact on books available to Lansing readers.

Like many libraries, the Lansing Public Library already has policies in place that disallow books from being pulled. They adhere to the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, which indicates that reading materials should not be proscribed, removed, or restricted because of partisan or personal disproval. HB2789 tasks the Illinois State Librarian and the Illinois State Library with adopting the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights statewide. “Most libraries already do that,” said Korajczyk, “but now there’s a penalty if you don’t.”

The penalty is that state funding could be denied to libraries who don’t comply. Libraries receive grants from the state government; the dollar amount is based on population served. The Lansing Public Library receives approximately $42,000 from this per capita grant.

Nor do Lansing readers have a history of requesting that certain books be banned from the library. “I looked through the paperwork,” said Korajczyk, “and I saw one [request] maybe 25 years ago.” The library did not pull the book at that time.

During Banned Book Week last September, the library featured some of the books that have been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. (Photo: JJ Armstrong)

“The library is all about the freedom of reading and intellectual freedom,” explained Korajczyk. “We don’t pull books from the collection. We let parents choose for their child what they want their child to read.

“It is the job of the library to provide information for everybody. And various points of view.”

The new law will take effect January 1, 2024.

The Lansing Public Library is located at 2750 Indiana Avenue in Lansing, Illinois.

The Lansing Public Library is located at 2750 Indiana Avenue. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)


Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma grew up in Lansing, Illinois, and believes The Lansing Journal has an important role to play in building community through trustworthy information.