SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — Last week, Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias condemned a series of bomb threats to libraries across the state, including several in northern Illinois.

According to The Center Square, the exact number of threats was not given, and police have determined the threats were not credible.

“What the hell is wrong with people,” Giannoulias said Friday. “You’re threatening to bomb libraries because you have librarians doing their job, which is nurturing kids. We should be putting librarians on a pedestal. To me it’s a sad, sad week for Illinois and a sad week for our country.”

Giannoulias, who also serves as the state librarian, spearheaded a first-in-the-nation law that penalizes libraries that makes libraries ineligible for state-funded grants if they remove books because of “partisan or personal disapproval” or fail to issue a statement against banning books.

However, Rep. Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City) called the law pointless, saying, “Nobody is banning anything. I have yet to see one of these books that is not still available to be sold and purchased. That’s a book ban. This isn’t a book ban, this is about age appropriate.”

According to a 2022 report, the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom said it received complaints over 1,600 books at public schools and libraries in 2021, which was nearly double the number from 2020, and the highest in 20 years.

The two most challenged books on the ALA’s top 10 list have been in the news often: Maia Kobabe’s graphic memoir about sexual identity, “Gender Queer,” and Jonathan Evison’s “Lawn Boy,” a coming-of-age novel narrated by a young gay man.

Others on the ALA list, virtually all cited for LGBTQ or racial themes, include Angie Thomas’ bestselling “The Hate U Give,” centered on a police shooting of a Black teen; George Johnson’s “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” Juno Dawson’s “This Book Is Gay” and Susan Kuklin’s “Beyond Magenta.” Two older works that have been on the list before also appear: Sherman Alexie’s autobiographical novel “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” and Nobel laureate Toni Morrison’s debut novel “The Bluest Eye.”

While the Illinois legislation appears poised at protecting books that deal with controversial issues such as sex and race, conservative groups point to stores, such as Amazon, removing books for sale that offer countering viewpoints, or changing the written text of classic books even before they appear on shelves.

Online retailer Amazon has received criticism for removing books such as “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Movement,” which highlights contradictions between “the media’s sunny depiction [of gender transition] and the often sad realities of gender-identity struggles.” Amazon said the book, which had been on sale for three years, fell under a broad guideline that restricts “content that we determine is hate speech, promotes the abuse or sexual exploitation of children, contains pornography, glorifies rape or pedophilia, advocates terrorism, or other material we deem inappropriate or offensive.”

Ian Fleming Publications announced it is rewriting classic James Bond novels after a review by “sensitivity readers,” and Roald Dahl books, such as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” are being released in new versions that omit “offensive language,” such as describing one character as fat.

In 2021, six children’s books by famed children’s author Dr. Seuss were removed from publication due to “racist and insensitive imagery“.

Numerous other popular children’s series have been criticized in recent years for alleged racism.