Chicago, IL – Governor JB Pritzker made a groundbreaking announcement during National Banned Books Week, revealing plans to open the University of Chicago Library’s banned book collection to the public, both in person and digitally. This move underscores a resolute commitment to intellectual freedom and education.
Governor Pritzker, joined by Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton and University of Chicago leadership at the Regenstein Library, emphasized the importance of engaging with diverse ideas and protecting free speech. Lt. Gov. Stratton declared, “Illinois continues to stand on the right side of history, refusing to censor educational and social reading material that celebrates our diversity and the richness of the human experience.”
In collaboration with the American Library Association (ALA), the University of Chicago will curate a collection of “banned books” accessible with a UChicago Library visitor pass. These titles will also be digitized and available nationwide through the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). An innovative “Banned Book Club” app will help users discover banned books in their areas.
Governor Pritzker’s leadership extends beyond this initiative. In June 2023, he signed a pioneering bill making Illinois the first state to outlaw book bans, prioritizing education and literary justice.
Additionally, Governor Pritzker allocated $1.6 million in the FY24 state budget to launch Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library statewide, providing free, high-quality books to young children, regardless of their family’s income.
The University of Chicago’s Regenstein Library’s Banned Book Collection is now accessible, with the digital collection available on DPLA’s “Banned Books Club” via the Palace e-reader app. Illinois sets a compelling example for the nation during this Banned Books Week.