Illinois Book Ban Reform: UIUC Prof. Emily Knox Explains Key Changes

Ahead of House Bill 2789 becoming effective January 1st, The Chicago Defender spoke with Associate Professor Emily Knox from the Library and Information Sciences department at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to discuss how the legislation will operate to prevent thoughtless bans on certain book titles.

She explained how the legislation is a policy law requiring libraries to have a more thorough procedure to ban books and adopt the American Library Association’s (ALA) Library Bill of Rights to receive state funding.

“It basically says that in order to remove books from Illinois state libraries, you have to go through a certain process, Knox said. “You can’t just walk up and say ‘I don’t like this book’ so someone can remove it.”

Knox also shared how some of the most challenged books in the nation relate to race, mental illness and sexual identity.

According to the ALA’s “Top 13 Most Challenged Books of 2022”, the second-most challenged book was “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson, who shares his experiences of growing up Black and identifying as queer.

Professor Knox testified before Congress back in September on the necessity of having intellectual freedom.

Here is David Pierce’s interview with Prof. Knox:


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