Books

What Do Parents Really Think of Libraries and Book Bans?: Survey Results

Book bans show no sign of slowing down, and they’re often defended by claiming “parents’ rights” to restrict access to LGBTQ books, anti-racist materials, and social justice texts. But does the average parent really support bans of books like Arthur’s Birthday, the dictionary, or guides to navigating puberty? To find out, Book Riot partnered with the EveryLibrary Institute to run a series of surveys on parental perceptions of libraries and librarians.

Now, the results of all three surveys, with more than 3,000 participants, are in. The first survey focuses on perceptions of public libraries, the second on perceptions of librarians, and the third on perceptions of school libraries.

The results are fascinating, and well worth digging into in depth. Kelly Jensen has been covering many of the biggest takeaways in her weekly Censorship News Roundup: sign up for the Literary Activism newsletter to keep updated. While you’re at it, sign up for the EveryLibrary Institute email list as well for ways you can fight back against censorship.

While librarians have seen an increase in threats and accusations against them — including bomb threats to libraries — one of the top results of these surveys was that 92% of respondents say libraries are safe spaces for their children, and 85% say they trust librarians.

Not all results are so straight-forward, though: for example, 63% of respondents agree or somewhat agree that “banning books is a waste of time,” but 57% said banning books from school libraries is an appropriate way to prevent children from learning about certain topics.

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