Final Report on Parent Perceptions Survey and New Whitepaper on Demographics of Book Bans Released
The EveryLibrary Institute released two new reports on the political, social, and educational climate for libraries and librarians around book bans and censorship.
The Parents' Perception Survey Series, developed in conjunction with Book Riot, the largest independent editorial book site in North America, is the final report in a three-part series detailing the findings of national surveys of parents about their perceptions of libraries and librarians during the current book ban crisis. This report gathered insights from 3,206 parents and guardians with children under 18 across three surveys between September and November 2023. The surveys asked parents and guardians about their perception of librarians' trustworthiness as professionals and curators of a library collection and their attitudes toward books and book bans.
Top-level findings from the Parents Perception Report are:
- 85% of respondents say they trust librarians.
- 58% of parents think public librarians should be primarily responsible for what books are selected for the public library as opposed to elected officials, library boards, or parent groups.
- 92% of respondents say libraries are safe spaces for their children.
- 75% of respondents do not believe their libraries are experiencing book bans.
- 67% of respondents feel that book bans infringe on their rights to make decisions for their children.
- 75% of respondents report that neither they nor their child have checked out a book from the library that they felt was inappropriate.
- 63% of respondents agree or somewhat agree that “banning books is a waste of time” at the public library.
- 57% of respondents say banning books from the school library is an appropriate way to prevent children from learning about certain topics.
- 80% of respondents agree that "school libraries should have content rating systems.
- 95% of respondents want to see a school library in their child’s school.
In the new "Demographics of Book Bans" whitepaper, the EveryLibrary Institute analyzes the characteristics of towns, cities, counties, and school districts experiencing high instances of book ban and censorship activity in public libraries or school libraries. The key demographics of these “book ban communities” are that they are predominantly white areas with higher income, education levels, homeownership rates, and higher employment rates than the median. The data indicates that book bans happen in both Republican and Democrat-leaning areas but are predominantly in Republican areas.
The increase in book bans is a concerning trend threatening the democratic values of freedom of expression and access to information. Taken together, these two new reports offer insights into the current social and political landscape that is driving book bans and censorship activities across the country. The survey report should inform librarians about curating content and creating policies that align with community values and expectations, as well as inform policymakers and educators about making decisions that reflect the actual views of parents rather than those of special interest groups. The whitepaper shows that efforts to ban books and censor content in school libraries and public libraries are predominantly found in more privileged areas – white, wealthy, educated, and employed – and driven by fear of societal changes and loss of traditional privileges.
Review the complete findings of the parent perceptions surveys and read the report at https://www.everylibraryinstitute.org/parent_perceptions_survey_2023.
Download the “Demographics of Book Bans” whitepaper at https://www.everylibraryinstitute.org/demographics_of_book_bans.
About EveryLibrary Institute
The EveryLibrary Institute is a library think tank and professional network that is focused on improving and supporting the future of library funding in the United States and abroad. Our primary work is to create effective programs, original research, and relevant training programs that enable public libraries to serve their diverse communities and school libraries to create equity in education. Please visit everylibraryinstitute.org.
About Book Riot
Book Riot is North America's largest independent editorial book site, providing coverage of books, literature, and reading culture. With a dedicated team of contributors, Book Riot offers engaging content, recommendations, and discussions on various literary topics, including diverse and inclusive reading experiences. Please visit bookriot.com.