042623CM0928SPRINGFIELD – Following restrictive book bannings in Florida and around the nation, State Senator Mike Simmons advanced legislation out of the Senate to prevent books from being banned in Illinois on Thursday.

“Six other states have already led efforts to ban books, and in the 2021-2022 school year more than 2500 books were banned across the country. We are seeing whole communities being erased from school curricula and libraries, and so by passing SB689 we are getting ahead of this hateful wave and putting Illinois on the right side of history,” said Simmons (D-Chicago). 

Senate Bill 689 (originally filed as SB1812) prohibits library systems, school districts, school boards, and trustees of a library or village library from limiting access to or prohibiting the purchase of books or materials related to autobiographies, biographies, memoirs, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, sexual and reproductive health, gender identity, religion, human rights activism, or any other subject.

“My goal with this legislation is to ensure that every person in our state, especially young people – that next generation of LGBTQ+ youth, that next generation of youth struggling to find their place in our society – has the right to free and robust access to all books, just as I did growing up," Simmons said.

“Books uniquely broaden perspectives, exercise minds, challenge biases, all while offering a unique opportunity to process and absorb information independently,” said Simmons. “As the first openly LGBTQ+ person elected to serve in the Illinois Senate, the first Black person elected to the Senate to represent the far north side of Chicago, and as the bi-ethnic son of a Black-American mother and an Ethiopian-American refugee father, books validated many of my unique intersectional experiences and opened many doors.” 

The bill would not impose limitations on access to books or materials in a library for safety reasons or based on the age and development level of persons who will have access to those books or materials.

Senate Bill 689 passed the Senate on Thursday and now heads to the House for further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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