Americans Don’t Want Book Bans!
Polls show that most people in the U.S. are not in favor of banning books.
If you ask someone how they feel about book bans, chances are they’ll have something to say about them—nearly every American does. At the end of August 2022, EveryLibrary conducted a survey to find out what people have to say about the recent wave of book bans and whether or not voters approve.
When we conducted the study, we surveyed roughly 1,123 voters around the country. The poll’s initial purpose was to spot the differences in voter beliefs based on age, gender, race, education, and political choices in the 2020 election. Interestingly enough, voters of all demographics held similar sentiments toward libraries and book bans!
Our study found around 90 percent of Democrats, 53 percent of Republicans, and 80 percent of independent voters opposed book bans, and an overwhelming 90 percent of participants opposed banning classic literature and children’s books.
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Complete Opposition vs. Situational Bans
When it comes to banning books in general, however, only about half of the voters believe that there is absolutely no reason for banning books. This begs the question: In what situations would people consider banning books to be a good thing?
A separate poll conducted by CBS News and YouGov delved further into this question, focusing on book bans around race and ethnicity in schools, particularly ones that taught students about slavery. Their numbers about book banning, especially regarding government critique and opposing political views, were the same as ours. However, when it comes to the question of teaching race in schools, a minority of voters believe that teaching race and critical race theory would make American students feel guilty about the past or less racially tolerant.
Why Are Books Getting Banned Today?
Today, book bans are primarily centered around race, gender, and sexuality. With the recent surge of LGBTQ+ representation in media, conservative groups want to ban books considered “inappropriate” or “explicit” from libraries and schools. However, this push includes resources for LGBTQ+ youth, books that handle sexual assault and abuse, and racism, all of which may be complex and heavy topics but crucial to educating children on these topics.
According to PEN America, these book bans are primarily pushed via small political groups representing a minority of Americans. Based on our study regarding voter opinion on book bans, it’s evident that most Americans don’t want any book bannings whatsoever.
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Why It Matters
This recent wave of book bans targets not only critical race theory but also critical gender theory. With the sheer amount of representation that the LGBTQ+ community has gotten recently, book bans are just another way to silence queer voices.
Now more than ever, we need to vote on local, state, and national levels to oppose book bans and keep our libraries free. Please feel free to share this resource with your friends and loved ones to help spread the word!
Visit www.everylibrary.org to learn more about our work on behalf of libraries.
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This work by EveryLibrary is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0