Giannoulias testifies during Senate hearing on book banning

Hearings to examine book bans, focusing on how censorship limits liberty and literature. (Official U.S. Senate photo by John Shinkle)

By Dave Dahl

WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee chair U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) wanted to show his colleagues what’s being done in Illinois to ban book bans, in a new law spearheaded by Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias.

Giannoulias was one of the witnesses Tuesday as Washington was treated to a reading by U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) of a gay encounter in a “challenged” book.

“The words you spoke are disturbing, especially coming out of your mouth,” quipped Giannoulias, the state’s librarian-in-chief. “But we are not advocating for kids to read porn.”

Challenged by Kennedy, Giannoulias said the point is that parents should not be able to dictate what other parents’ kids can and cannot read.

Emily Knox, a professor of library and information sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, described what you could find on a banned-books list: “Books that we consider to be diverse: about anybody who is not white, heterosexual, male; books that are about LGBTQIA people, about people of color.”

Dave Dahl can be reached at [email protected]


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