The following can be attributed to Edwin C. Yohnka, Director of Communications, at the ACLU of Illinois:

Public libraries are sanctuaries for communities to gather to read, study, go online, get out of the heat and explore new ideas. They are places to build community. For this reason, the recent bomb threats targeting public libraries across the Chicago area are sad and deeply troubling. But these disturbing events cannot be a trigger for giving into those seeking to ban materials and displays from our public libraries. 

We should all be clear. The recent threats result from ideologically driven attacks on libraries, attacks from a small handful of loud voices who seek to ban books and displays that reflect and elevate the experiences and views of LGBTQ+ people, people of color and other voices too often ignored in our society. The language and misinformation driving these book bans sadly lead some to believe that threats of violence are an appropriate response to children’s books they do not like.

Threats of violence against libraries make clear that each of us must support the work of all librarians across Illinois. It is time that we unite as a state in opposing the voices of anger that want to ban books and not allow ourselves to be coerced by threats. We encourage everyone to show support for their public library by increasing your patronage, attending a library board meeting or sharing a message of support with your local librarians. It is time to speak up.