City of Chicago and Chicago Public Library Declare Themselves Book Sanctuaries

Yesterday, in response to the increased number of book banning attempts across the country, the City of Chicago and the Chicago Public Library (CPL) have declared themselves safe spaces for endangered stories. The city of Chicago and the CPL have established “Book Sanctuaries” across 81 library branches and 77 neighborhoods. These sanctuaries are safe spaces for books and offer support for maintaining the freedom to read.

Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot said “As one of the most diverse cities in the country, Chicago is proud to continue welcoming people from all walks of life and providing spaces for them to share their experiences. Book Sanctuaries will serve as these spaces and send an important message that our libraries are safe places for all to explore and discover.”

The Chicago Public Library is encouraging others to start their own Book Sanctuaries, which can be any size and exist anywhere. The CPL only ask that those looking to establish sanctuaries take at least one of the following actions:

  • Collect and protect books at risk of being banned, which tend to be ones that center BIPOC or LGBTQ+ experiences
  • Make these books as accessible as possible
  • Facilitate book talks and other events that allow space for diverse perspectives and stories
  • Educate on the history of book banning

The CPL has made a blueprint available for those who are interested in fighting against censorship and starting their own Book Sanctuary. If you’re interested, visit TheBookSanctuary.org.

Find more news and stories of interest from the book world in Breaking in Books.

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