New Minnesota Law Prohibits Book Bans

New Minnesota Law Prohibits Book Bans

In the midst of an epidemic of anti-LGBTQ censorship laws around the country, Minnesota turns the page by passing a law prohibiting libraries from banning books. 

Recently, Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill into law banning K-12 schools, colleges and public libraries from complying with removal requests “based solely on the viewpoint, content, message, idea or opinion conveyed,” according to Them. 

Walz spoke of his decision to sign the bill in a post on X: “Censorship has no place in our libraries. As a former teacher, I’m clear: We need to remember our history, not erase it.” Versions of the legislation have also been passed in other states including California, Maryland and Illinois. 

The prohibition of book bans in Minnesota follows a movement to increase censorship in libraries and educational spaces across the state. The American Library Association reported over 4,200 works in school and public libraries were targeted last year, a leap from 2022’s 2,600 titles targeted, according AP News. 

Book bans are not a new tactic for conservatives hoping to control educational content, but they have seen a strong re-emergence as official legislation takes bans from the local to state level. Restrictions imposed in conservative-led states have instilled fear amongst librarians and educational administrators, who could face lawsuits, fines, or imprisonment for violating the censorship bans. AP reports that this year lawmakers across 15 states have introduced bills with harsh penalties for libraries and librarians. 

Walz also told Minnesota Public Radio “Those who have asked for book bans have never been on the right side of history, they have never been viewed as being the folks that were the heroes of freedom, they have never been viewed as the people that were looking out for others.” 

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