November 2022 Church & State Magazine

Few Americans Support Banning Books, New Poll Of Voters Shows

  Few Americans Support Banning Books, New Poll Of Voters Shows

A recent poll by the EveryLibrary Institute shows that most Americans don’t support banning books.

The poll, which the group released during Banned Books Week (Sept. 18-24), found that 75% of Americans oppose banning books. Americans are especially concerned about the banning of classic novels and children’s books. More than 90% oppose such bans.

The poll surveyed more than 1,100 registered voters. Here are some other highlights:

  • A mere 8% of respondents believe “there are many books that are inappropriate and should be ban­ned.”
  • 50% of voters say there is “absolutely no time when a book should be banned,” while 41% say there are only “rare times” when it’s appropriate.
  • Only 18% of voters support book banning on issues of race and “critical race theory.” About one-third say they support bans on books that discuss sexuality.
  • Americans are aware that attempts to ban books are all too common in the country. 92% of respondents say they’ve heard at least something about the issue.
  • Voters support public libraries, with 69% reporting favorable feelings about libraries and 66% about librarians.
  • About 60% of voters oppose banning books even if they are alleged to be “explicit,” and 72% of voters oppose banning The 1619 Projector other works on race that some on the far right have attacked.

Although Americans oppose banning books, the practice is unfortunately on the upswing. According to the American Library Association, nationwide there have been 681 instances of individual books having been banned, affecting 1,651 different book titles between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31.

In an incident that captured national headlines, voters in James­town Township, Mich., voted this summer to deny their town library 84% of its funding due to the presence of books with LGBTQ content in the collection. The township’s library board is putting the issue before the voters again this month, but if the voters reject the funding again the library will likely close.

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