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7 pm Freedom to Read webinar

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Book Challenges on the Rise:  Support Your Freedom to Read webinar

Illinois Secretary of State / State Librarian Alexi Giannoulias will discuss the freedom to read with a panel of experts on Zoom on Monday, October 2, at 7:00 p.m. CDT.  The event is free and open to all.  Signup is required; visit

Giannoulias took office in January 2023, the start of what has been a challenging year for libraries.  Across the country, school and public libraries have seen a dramatic rise in the number of requests to remove books from their shelves or restrict public access. 

The American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) documented 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources in 2022, the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling data about censorship in libraries more than 20 years ago.  A record 2,571 challenged titles in 2022 represented a 38 percent increase from the 1,858 unique titles targeted for censorship in 2021.  Of those titles, the vast majority tell the stories of Black or LGBTQ people or are by authors in those communities.

Giannoulias will be joined in conversation by executive director of the Reaching Across Illinois Library System Monica Harris and two Illinois authors whose books have been challenged: Jasmine Warga and Jarrett Dapier. Journalist Heidi Stevens will moderate the discussion. 

The panelists will examine the current state of book challenges, Illinois’ legislative response, the implications of censorship on communities, and share how viewers can effectively support intellectual freedom. 

More than 75 public libraries across the state have signed on as partners and are promoting the webinar to their patrons, including Genoa Public Library in Genoa, Illinois. 

The webinar is offered as part of Banned Books Week, an annual national celebration of the freedom to read. The observance also highlights the value of access and draws attention to the harms of censorship. 

Monday, October 2nd @ 7 pm

Register for the webinar @

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