Our Village Is a Book Sanctuary Community

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.

In addition, 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 »

Use your civic voice. Register to vote, talk with elected officials, find upcoming election dates, and more »

Fight for the First. Get involved with a group near you or create your own campaign with help from EveryLibrary »

Get tools to organize and speak up. Read more advice from EveryLibrary, via Ask A Manager »

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.

Sign an American Library Association (ALA) petition to Congress. From the ALA: “Tell Congress to Stop Platforming Book Ban Deniers” »

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.

American Library Association statement on the Freedom to Read.

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."