In the United States, the freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Yet that freedom continues to be challenged. We are not neutral about defending it.
Join us for these fall events
- Community Open House: Celebrating the Freedom to Read. Sunday, October 1, 1-3 pm, Main Library
- Book Challenges on the Rise: Support Your Freedom to Read. Monday, October 2, 7-8 pm, Main Library and virtual
- Barbara Ballinger Lecture: Discussion on Intellectual Freedom, Book Bans & Censorship. Saturday, November 11, 1-2 pm, Main Library and virtual
Our village is a Book Sanctuary Community
The Village of Oak Park Board of Trustees voted to name Oak Park a Book Sanctuary Community in June 2023. The resolution affirms that Oak Park champions diverse and inclusive books, and protects access to challenged and banned books. It also works with the new state law signed by Gov. JB Pritzker that discourages state libraries from removing books because of personal, political, or religious reasons.
How you can take action
Unite against book bans. Sign your name to The Freedom to Read Statement »
Spread the word locally. Support Oak Park as a Book Sanctuary Community »
Share about Books Unbanned. Be aware of how libraries are finding new ways to support the freedom to read throughout our nation. For example, in an unprecedented move to open access to challenged and banned titles, the Brooklyn Public Library and the Seattle Public Library now offer free digital library cards—with access to ebook collections—for teens and young adults living anywhere in the United States.
Read these titles. We have curated a list of books that best exemplify our commitment to being A Library for Everyone. Sorted by age, this list focuses on titles that speak to a broad audience and includes some past banned and challenged titles, as well as books about censorship.
Oak Park has a strategy, policies & practices
As stated in Oak Park's Collection Strategy Statement, we intend for our collections, in all available formats, to facilitate equitable experiences for engagement, education, and inspiration, and to have measurable impact on the community. The library develops a meaningful, evidence-based collection that is positioned to meet the needs of the community and supports equity, diversity, and inclusion.
To develop an evidence-based collection, we use traditional metrics such as circulation, downloads, and website visits, as well as qualitative metrics such as customer feedback, program and services evaluations, library-wide institutional assessments, conversations with the community, and professional insights gained through community engagement.
We've joined the ULC's Declaration of Democracy
Oak Park values democracy and has signed on to the Urban Libraries Council's Declaration of Democracy:
"Public libraries are critical cornerstones of democracy, and democracy’s future is diminished when people’s access to power, information, a diversity of voices and the ability to influence policy are restricted. The battle to protect democracy is a global struggle playing out at the local level and libraries have landed on the front lines. Democracy can only thrive with strong community-level support and engagement."