The EveryLibrary Institute, a public policy think tank for libraries, and Book Riot, the largest independent editorial book site in North America, announced the results of a comprehensive survey that sheds some light on the perceptions of parents regarding public libraries and the current issues they face.
The “Public Libraries and Book Bans – Parent Perception Survey” garnered insight from 853 parents and guardians with children younger than age 18, during September 2023, according to a news release.
The survey asked parents and guardians to share their experiences and opinions about book bans, their trust in libraries, their understanding of librarians’ book selection process, and their feelings on sensitive subjects in children’s books such as sex, LGBTQ+ characters and themes, race, and social justice issues in reading and literature.
Top-level findings show that a majority of respondents (67%) think that “banning books is a waste of time” and 74% agree or somewhat agree that book bans infringe on their right to make decisions for their children.
The survey also found that 92% of all respondents feel their child/children are safe at the library, and 58% think librarians should be primarily responsible for what books are selected in the public library, the release said.
The survey also noted that parents are more comfortable with children accessing age-appropriate books related to social justice and race than LGBTQ+ themes and sexual education.
Respondents are largely unaware of how librarians decide what books to include in the library collection and many believe that some books in children’s sections are inappropriate, too.
“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,” said Kelly Jensen, Book Riot, in the release.
“Our ultimate goal is to foster an open dialogue around these issues and to support libraries and their users in navigating this challenging landscape,” said Jensen.
To see the complete survey findings, visit EveryLibraryInstitute.org/parent_perceptions_survey_2023.
This is the first survey in a series of three focusing on parents and libraries.
Published October 11, 2023