It may surprise some to find out there are hundreds of reported attempts to ban books every year in the United States. It may be even more astounding for them to hear that since 1990, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has received reports of more than 18,000 attempts to remove materials in schools and libraries for content deemed by some as inappropriate, controversial, or even dangerous.

Banned Books Week, Sept. 21 – 27, 2014, reminds Americans about the importance of preventing censorship and ensuring everyone’s freedom to read any book they choose. According to ALA’s OIF, for every banned book reported, there are many more that are not.

“Our most basic freedom in a democratic society is our first amendment right of the freedom to read,” said ALA President Courtney Young. “Banned Books Week is an opportunity for all of us – community residents, librarians, authors and educators – to stand together protecting this fundamental right for everyone and for future generations. We can never take this precious right for granted.”

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.

Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers; Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Freedom to Read Foundation, National Association of College Stores, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, PEN American Center, People For the American Way and Project Censored. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

For more information on Banned Books Week, book challenges and censorship, please visit the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom’s Banned Books website or

The Lillie M. Evans Library District just wrapped up our fiscal year of July 1, 2013-June 30, 2014.  From completing our carpeting project to hosting the Lincoln Exhibit, it was a very busy year for us.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • Our Friends of the Library group once again had a very successful book sale.  As a result, they purchased additional Ellison die cutters, an Ellison cart, a rug for the class visits, and an audio system for the meeting room. They also continued their sponsorship of an additional entertainer for the SRP, help with the Teen SRP grand prize, SRP refreshments at the pool party, and a gift card for the Holiday Homecoming raffle.
  • We completed our final carpeting phase in August.  Once all the upgrades were complete, we shifted the adult fiction and non-fiction collections. All the non-fiction, fiction, large print, playaways, biographies, and young adult fiction were also moved.  The Turner picture was reframed as per our interior designer’s recommendation, and we had our open house on September 11th. Both Senator Darrin LaHood and Representative David Leitch attended. 
  • Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War exhibit was a very successful collaboration with the Princeville Heritage Museum.  It was on display from April 7, 2014 through May 9, 2014.  We had a total of 1,278 visitors and 23 class visits. We were very fortunate to secure grant funding for this exhibit.  It was organized by the National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office and was made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  In addition, we were able to secure funding for 2 of our programs through grants from the Illinois Humanities Council.  The Museum hosted the opening reception and our programs included:  Illinois in the Civil War presented by Tom Emery, Black Jack Logan: Civil War General, Senator, King-Maker with Brian “Fox” Ellis, the Anti-Slavery Movement in Black & White presented by Jeanne Schultz Angel, and by far our most successful program, Mrs. Lincoln’s Tea & Salon with historical impersonator, Debra Ann Miller. Thank you to the Princeville Heritage Museum & especially, Julie Delbridge for all the time and effort provided and to everyone who attended and supported this exhibit and programming.
  • This year the extreme weather conditions impacted on our statistics.  We had to close the library on January 6th due to weather, and we cancelled several programs due to the closure of Princeville CUSD for weather related reasons. Additionally, storms and continued inclement weather definitely had an impact on patron visits.  Our overall circulation was up a little over 1% from last year, but our attendance was down 5% overall. Our total materials circulation for FY14 was 48,485 which averaged 4,040 items/month.
  • We added a Fabric Crafts and Fiber Arts show in November/December. This was a non-juried show but was fun and looked great in the library.  We had 50 pieces on display. It was up during Holiday Homecoming and the Princeville Woman’s Club Home Tour.  Unfortunately the weather was not good for the home tour, but we still saw 28 people that evening.
  • This was our second year that we hosted the redesigned Art Show during Heritage Days.  This year we made some additional changes by expanding the drop off and pick up times, adjusting the hours during Heritage Days, and provided more time for set up and judging.  The opening reception was on Friday, June 20th and we had over 80 people attend.  In addition to the Heritage Days hours, the Art Show continued to be on display during our regular library hours through July 5th.   We had 21 artists participate this year and 61 pieces of art exhibited. Thank you to everyone who joined us in celebrating art and artists in our community!
  • We are working on our long range planning.  It’s hard to believe we just completed our last 3 year plan.  Thank you to everyone who attended our focus group or filled out our library survey.  We’ve completed the FY15 plan and are finishing up with FY16 & FY17.  We are also updating our Technology Plan and working with a consultant to identify building needs.
  • Reaching Across Illinois Libraries System (RAILS) completed their long range planning process in 2013-2014.  In fall 2013, they received a grant from the Illinois State Library to start an eBook consortium using Baker & Taylor’s 360 Axis. This collection, eRead Illinois, only includes ebooks but RAILS has structured it to be sustainable after the grant funding ends.  Even though we have joined eRead IL, we continue to participate in the Alliance Digital Media Library (ADML) which is supported by Overdrive and provides ebooks and audio books.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project is an initiative of the Pew Research Center, a nonprofit “fact tank” that provides information on the issues, attitudes, and trends shaping America and the world. The Pew Internet Project explores the impact of the internet on children, families, communities, the work place, schools, health care and civic/political life.  

They've done surveys on Americans reading habits, how Americans value libraries and on the rise of ereading devices.  Their latest post is on 7 surprises about libraries in our surveys

Their is even a Library User Quiz so you can see how your own library habits stack up against the rest of your community—and the U.S. as a whole. Want to checkout the research they've done so far?  Go to 

This is the final week for the Lincoln exhibit at the Princeville Heritage Musuem. Be sure to stop by before the exhibit closes! In addition to the national traveling exhibit, there are also displays about local history designed by the Museum. Regular exhibit hours through May 9th are: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays & Saturdays 10am-2pm; Tuesdays from 2pm-8pm; and Thursdays from 2pm-6pm. The exhibit is closed on Sundays. The final opportunity to visit the exhibit will be at the Community Coffee on Wednesday, May 15th from 8-10:30am.  After that, the exhibit will be dismantled and shipped off to the next location.

The Princeville Heritage Museum in conjunction with the Lillie M. Evans Library has been hosting the exhibit, Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War since April 7, 2014. Organized thematically, the exhibition explores how Lincoln used the Constitution to confront three intertwined crises of the war—the secession of Southern states, slavery, and wartime civil liberties. Visitors will leave the exhibition with a more complete understanding of Abraham Lincoln as president and the Civil War as the nation’s gravest constitutional crisis.

Lincoln: the Constitution and the Civil War is a traveling exhibition for libraries and was organized by the National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. The traveling exhibition has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Lincoln: the Constitution and the Civil War is based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the National Constitution Center. A short video walkthrough (10:25 min.) with Dr. Steve Frank, Chief Interpretive Officer at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, is available online at:

The Museum is located 325 N Ostrom Avenue in Princeville, IL—a half mile from the LME Library in the Ostrom subdivision. The 30,000 sq ft handicap-accessible facility features agriculture antiques, area artifacts, genealogy research, and more. The Akron Townhouse School, a one-room school, is located on the Museum grounds. For more information and for booking group or class visits, please call the Museum (309) 385-1916.