Study Finds Parents Maintain Trust in Librarians Despite National Effort to Prohibit Books

Despite a national wave of book bans and censorship attempts by conservative groups, a recent survey conducted by EveryLibrary Institute and Book Riot has found that parents maintain a high level of trust in librarians.

The survey, titled “Parent Perceptions of Librarianship 2023,” reveals that families from diverse backgrounds and income levels continue to place their trust in public and school librarians, despite ongoing efforts to restrict access to books on America’s racist history and LGBTQ issues. These families value the expertise of librarians in creating safe and engaging learning environments that foster learning and creativity.

In the 2022-23 school year, PEN America, a free speech organization, documented 3,362 cases of book bans. North Carolina stands out as a leader in censorship, with 58 reported book bans between July 2022 and June 2023. The number of book bans by school districts has increased since the start of the academic year.

John Chrastka, the executive director of EveryLibrary Institute, believes that this survey demonstrates how politically motivated book banning and censorship groups are disconnected from the beliefs of most parents and guardians.

“Contrary to the narrative pushed by so-called parent rights groups, parents across America value the role of librarians in our communities and in our children’s education,” said Chrastka. “Pro-censorship groups do not represent the beliefs of the vast majority of parents or guardians when it comes to librarians, reading, education, and civil society.”

The EveryLibrary Institute is a library think tank and professional network that focuses on improving and supporting library funding in the United States and internationally. Book Riot, on the other hand, is the largest independent editorial book site in North America.

Kelly Jensen, an editor at Book Riot, views this survey as an informative tool that provides valuable insights into parental perceptions of libraries.

“These surveys expand our understanding of what libraries are doing right and help us identify areas where we can advocate for a better understanding of the roles libraries play in the lives of the average person,” said Jensen. “We are pleased to see that the majority of parents continue to view the public library as a safe space for their children.”

The surveys conducted by EveryLibrary Institute and Book Riot involved 1,527 parents and guardians with children under 18. The surveys were carried out in October and November 2023.

Here’s a breakdown of the key findings from the surveys:

92 – Percentage of parents, grandparents, and guardians who trust librarians to curate appropriate books and materials

90 – Percentage who are comfortable with allowing their child to choose their own materials

96 – Percentage who feel that their children are safe when they are in the library

83 – Percentage who agree that librarians understand the types of books children enjoy

35 – Percentage who believe that public librarians have a political agenda and feel that they should have one

9 – Percentage who do not believe that librarians have a political agenda but think they should have one

44 – Percentage who do not believe that librarians have a political agenda and feel that they should not have one

85 – Percentage who are satisfied or very satisfied with librarians

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