Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias testifies in Senate on state's anti-book ban law


CHICAGO (CBS) -- Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias testified before a U.S. Senate committee on Tuesday, promoting a new Illinois law meant to protect freedom of speech by preventing book bans.

The law – passed earlier this year – prohibits state funding for any library that pulls books for "partisan or doctrinal" reasons.

The new law comes as predominantly Republican-led states continue to restrict books some consider offensive in schools and libraries across the country.

"This legislation is important, because both the concept and the practice of banning books contradicts the very essence of what our country stand for, and what our democracy was founded on," Giannoulias told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

According to the American Library Association, there were 67 attempts to ban books in Illinois in 2022.

Under the Illinois Library System Act, Illinois libraries would only be eligible for state funding if they adhere to the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights, which holds that books "should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval."

The new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2024.

Giannoulias also has launched a website,, which lets people share their stories and learn how to protect freedom of speech.