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ALA Condemns Violence at U.S. Libraries

Chicago Public Library's Harold Washington Library

On September 12, libraries in Chicago and neighboring Aurora, Addison, and Evanston, Illinois, received bomb threats. After investigations, no explosive devices were found at the libraries, but some of the facilities were evacuated and remained closed for the day.

The threats are part of an increase in violence targeted at libraries and librarians across the U.S.  The American Library Association has released a statement condemning the actions. Here it is, in full:

The American Library Association (ALA) vehemently condemns the violence, threats of violence and other acts of intimidation that are increasingly taking place in America’s libraries, including the recent bomb threats to Chicago-area public libraries, putting the lives of our communities, families, and library workers in danger.


Libraries are meant to be a safe haven for our communities, welcoming of people everywhere who believe in the peaceful exchange of ideas. These ongoing and rising attacks on America’s libraries pose an existential threat to the cornerstone of our democracy. Libraries are committed to upholding and defending the core values of inclusion and free and equal access to ideas and information, which are essential to an informed democratic society. The freedom to read is a constitutionally protected right, and reading choices must be left to the reader, and in case of children, their parents. Threats of physical harm and harassment are not, and never have been, protected speech.


ALA continues to call upon community leaders and elected officials to stand with libraries and others who promote the free and democratic exchange of ideas and to denounce those who would undermine it.


Photo: Chicago Public Library's Harold Washington Library, via Wikipedia Commons

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