Guns and Libraries

Resources on gun safety laws, statistics, and developing policies

June 12, 2017

no guns allowed

When you come to Chicago this summer for the American Library Association’s (ALA) Annual Conference, you may notice small decals on the doors of certain public places, notably bus and train stations—and the public library. While Illinois’s concealed carry law allows licensed individuals to carry concealed handguns, there are some public places where guns are not allowed.

Libraries are one of them. According to Robert P. Doyle, executive director of the Illinois Library Association, Illinois is the only state to make libraries “gun-free” zones.  What does this mean for libraries elsewhere? What steps should we take to ensure libraries as a safe space?

In January, at the 2017 Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta, the ALA Council passed the Resolution on Gun Violence Affecting Libraries, Library Workers, and Library Patrons. This resolution calls for working with other professional associations to achieve national gun safety laws and for offering public education opportunities that advance the notion of libraries as “perpetuators of peace.”

The ALA Library has developed a LibGuide called Gun Violence and Libraries, which includes links to resources on firearm safety in libraries, developing policies that accommodate local gun laws, resources (pro and con) on control, statistics about gun violence, and laws on this topic.

This subject is massive. And in compiling the information, it is likely that we have missed some key resources, so we welcome suggestions. Please email me, or use the link in the LibGuide to forward these items. And thanks!