New Poll Reveals Parents’ Strong Stance Against Book Bans in Public Libraries

The following was written from a press release:

New Poll Reveals Parents’ Strong Stance Against Book Bans in Public Libraries

EveryLibrary Institute and Book Riot Collaborate on Parent Perception Survey

In a groundbreaking survey conducted by the EveryLibrary Institute and Book Riot, a resounding majority of parents have expressed their opposition to book bans in public libraries. The “Public Libraries and Book Bans – Parent Perception Survey,” conducted in September 2023, gathered insights from 853 parents and guardians with children under 18, shedding light on their perceptions of public libraries and pressing issues they face.

The top-level findings of the survey are as follows:

  • 67% of respondents firmly believe that “banning books is a waste of time.”
  • An overwhelming 74% agree or somewhat agree that book bans infringe on their right to make decisions for their children, with 42% strongly agreeing and 32% somewhat agreeing.
  • 92% of all respondents feel that their child or children are safe when visiting the library.
  • A significant 58% believe that librarians should bear primary responsibility for selecting books in the public library.
  • 57% of parents assert that reading opens children up to new ideas, new people, and new perspectives, while 44% believe that teens should have access to books on controversial subjects and themes.
  • 43% report that their local library imposes age restrictions on children’s library card borrowing privileges, with 19% stating no restrictions and 37% being unsure.
  • A substantial 53% are unaware of how librarians decide which books to include in the library collection.
  • A supermajority of 66% of respondents said ‘no’ when asked if a book their child checked out made them uncomfortable, and 67% stated that their child had never been uncomfortable with a book they checked out.
  • Parents and guardians are more comfortable with their children accessing age-appropriate children’s books related to “social justice” and “race/racism” than they are with them accessing books related to “LGBTQ+ characters” and “puberty and sexual education” themes.

The survey results underscore the strong sentiment among parents that their children are safe in libraries, and they should retain the authority to determine their child’s reading choices. Moreover, a significant portion of parents do not support book bans, viewing them as an infringement on their rights. The survey also revealed that parents are more accepting of age-appropriate books on certain sensitive subjects than others, reflecting the complexity of this issue.

John Chrastka, Executive Director of EveryLibrary Institute, commented, “Our report sheds light on the perceptions of parents regarding public libraries and the current issues they face. Together with Book Riot, we are dedicated to empowering libraries to provide exceptional services that meet the unique needs of parents. The results of this survey can be used to improve library services and address parents’ concerns, ultimately leading to better experiences at the library for parents and their children.”

Vanessa Diaz, Managing Editor at Book Riot, expressed pride in the collaboration, stating, “Book Riot could not be more proud to collaborate with EveryLibrary on this exciting project. This research is vital and necessary in our collective efforts to champion literacy, support libraries and librarians, and understand parental perceptions around the role of the public library.”

Kelly Jensen, also from Book Riot, added, “By gathering insights from parents, we hope to generate a body of informative and thought-provoking material that sheds light on the complex issues surrounding book bans and censorship.”

The complete survey findings and report are available for download at EveryLibrary Institute’s website. This survey is the first in a series of three focusing on parents and libraries, with additional surveys on perceptions of school libraries and perceptions of librarians scheduled for release in fall 2023.

About EveryLibrary Institute

The EveryLibrary Institute is a library think tank and professional network focused on improving and supporting the future of library funding in the United States and abroad. Their work includes creating effective programs, conducting original research, and offering relevant training programs that enable public libraries to serve their diverse communities and school libraries to create equity in education.

About Book Riot

Book Riot is North America’s largest independent editorial book site, offering comprehensive coverage of books, literature, and reading culture. With a dedicated team of contributors, Book Riot provides engaging content, recommendations, and discussions on various literary topics, including diverse and inclusive reading experiences.

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