20240429

April newsletter

April 29, 2024

 

The first part of 2024 has brought some long-awaited good news to the world of books.

As of January 1st of this year, Illinois became the first state with legislation designed to protect libraries and schools from books bans.

This legislation, HB2789, protects the freedom of libraries to acquire materials without external limitations. Prior to this, Illinois law did not provide such protections.  (According to the American Library Association, there were 67 attempts to ban books in Illinois in 2022).

Under the law,  Illinois libraries would only be eligible for state-funded grants if they adopt the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights. 

This bill of rights was adopted in the summer of 1939, and has been amended as recently as 2019.  It is basically a mission statement for the purpose of public libraries (and school libraries, for that matter).

A few highlights:

I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.

II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

We will have to wait and see how effective this legislation is.  But I have great hopes that – at least in Illinois – we will be free to read the books of our choosing for the foreseeable future.

Of course, it is not all good news.  The Pen America Center tracked 4,349 book bans in the fall of 2023.  And while even Florida has made it more difficult  for book challenges to be lodged in school districts by individuals who do not have children attending school in those districts, the practice has not been outlawed.  There is still a lot of work to do.

As for us Indies, well, according to the American Booksellers Association, we are gaining in strength, diversity, and numbers with each passing year.

Between March of 2020 and the summer of 2023, 475 stores opened; 140 of them BIPOC-owned (56 of these stores opened in early 2023).   At that point, there were 198 bookstores scheduled to open by the end of 2025 - another 30 of them BIPOC-owned.

We had an amazing party this past Saturday.  I hope that all the newbies enjoyed their first Independent Bookstore Day.  I know I did.

Like all good parties, we have some leftovers.  Browse below if you missed any of the sweet swag over the weekend.

 

 

 

One Day. Fifty States. Over a Thousand Bookstores.

For more information, visit Chilovebooks.com

#IndieBookstoreDay    #CHILOVEBOOKS