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Book bans: What do Michigan residents really think?

CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for May 2, 2023
CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for May 2, 2023 02:51

(CBS DETROIT) - As book banning and censorship are becoming a heated topic in schools, recent poll results show Michigan voters oppose banning books in local libraries. 

The Michigan Library Association (MLA) commissioned EPIC-MRA, a survey research firm, to conduct a statewide survey in which 800 voters submitted responses regarding awareness of and attitudes toward the dictating or materials in local public libraries. 

Michiganders oppose book banning by a vast majority, according to the findings.

"A small minority who are trying to ban books are cynically attempting to limit as much as possible the teaching of history, especially books discussing slavery, race, political ideas they disagree with, criticisms of people and events in U.S. history, and discussions about sex, gender identity or sexual orientation," said Bernie Porn, President of EPIC-MRA. "About 9-in-10 voters say books on these topics should never be banned, with 2-in-3 saying the same thing about books dealing with sexual content."

The poll found that 67% of the respondents said there is no time when books with discussions about sex, gender identity or sexual orientation should be banned, and 57% of respondents said they are less likely to vote for their member of Congress, a State Senator or State Representative if they allow and/or require book bans at local libraries. 

Here are some of the other findings from the poll: 

  • 71% of respondents positively rated local libraries providing programs, services and diverse, quality collections of books and materials.
  • 83% majority of all participants would support state legislation protecting the right of the public to read what they would like to in public libraries and for books not to be banned.
  • 70% majority of the respondents said that librarians are very capable or mostly capable and trustworthy in determining which reading materials should be included in local libraries.
  • 42% plurality of all respondents agreed that "there is absolutely no time when a book should be banned from local public libraries." 
  • 75% majority said we need to protect young people's access to books so they can learn about different perspectives and grow into adults who can think for themselves. 
  • 80% agree with the following statement: "Individual parents can set rules for their own children, but they do not have the right to decide for other parents what books are available to their children."  
  • 77% agreed that libraries should contain a diverse collection of materials that represent different communities throughout the world


Over 1,600 books were banned in U.S. school districts in one year - and the number is increasing

ACLU warns Michigan school districts of book bans, urges schools to protect students' rights

Hundreds of Dearborn residents address controversial books

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