At the beginning of September 2022, the EveryLibrary Institute commissioned Embold Research to do a national survey regarding book banning. Embold Research can be found online, and the content of that survey can be found on the EveryLibrary website including the questions as posed in the survey. The survey included 1,223 registered voters and has a margin error of 3.4%.
Key findings were that 50% of those surveyed believe there is “absolutely no time when a book should be banned” and another 41% think there are “rare times when it’s appropriate to ban books.”
Thirty-one percent of Republicans think there is no time when a book should be banned, but that is far below the 66% of Democrats and 62% of Independents who feel the same.
Favorability ratings for teachers, public libraries, librarians, and school librarians far outweighed favorability ratings for governors, the Democrat party, the president, the past president and the Republican party.
Respondents were asked a series of questions regarding their positions on banning certain types of books. Ninety-three percent opposed banning classic novels such as Of Mice and Men and To Kill a Mockingbird. Ninety-one percent opposed banning children’s books (Walter the Farting Dog has been banned due to offense at the word “farting”). Seventy-two percent oppose banning books on race and slavery (some people feel they are “divisive”). Fifty-nine percent oppose banning books whose theme is sexuality such as Gender Queer (the most banned book in 2022).
In every category Republicans supported far more bans than either Democrats or Independents. Even so, most of the 31% of Republicans who believed there is “absolutely no time when a book should be banned” remained opposed to bans regardless of which type of book was tested.
When asked if book banning would influence voting, results were quite telling. The question: “How important is preventing book banning to how you decide to vote?” Results noted here include “Very Important” and “Somewhat important.”
All voters – 75%
Democrats – 95%
Independents – 80%
Republicans – 53%
Non-college women – 79%
College women – 83%
Non-college men – 67%
College men – 70%
Go to library at least once per week – 85%
At least once per month – 82%
At least once per year – 79%
Every few years – 74%
Never – 48%
The extent of book banning has reached outlandish proportions. Last year conservatives in Williamson County, Tennessee attempted to get a book banned from elementary schools because it described and showed illustrations of seahorses mating.
Public schools in a county just outside Nashville were pushed to ban a tale about Johnny Appleseed because it was described as “dark.” Wow! Imagine putting “dark” into a law or ordinance and then trying to convince a legal tribunal exactly what “dark” is.
Another attempt was made to ban a book about hurricanes aimed at first grade students because “first grade is too young to hear about possible devastating effects of hurricanes.” Maybe we should just ban any discussion about meteorology because rain causes floods, snow causes car wrecks and heat kills crops.
There were over 1,600 recorded attempts in 2022 to ban books and possibly many more that never were reported because they died aborning. And the attempts are escalating, largely through efforts of groups like Moms for Liberty (an obvious misnomer, if ever there was one).
The diligence of groups like EveryLibrary and the American Library Association is what stands between the ignorant attempts to ban books. And the added diligence of local concerned citizens is needed to thwart the efforts of those who seem only to want to “dumb down” Americans.