Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Most Oppose Explicit Books in Public Schools Says Harris Poll

A Harris Poll shows, "A majority of Americans say ... that books with explicit language should not be available to children in school libraries (62%)."  Source: "Most Americans Opposed to Banning Any Books; Large Majorities, Including Most African Americans, Oppose Changing 'Nigger' to 'Slave' in 'Huckleberry Finn'," by Samantha Braverman, The Harris Poll® #47, 12 April 2011.

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Harris Poll Shows Most People Oppose Explicit Books in Public Schools

The Harris Poll tested "2,379 adults (aged 18 and over)" and showed that most people oppose banning books.  No kidding.  That is not the most interesting part of the poll since no books have been banned in the USA for about half a century, the last being Fanny Hill.

The most important information revealed by the poll was in response to the question, "Do you think that children should or should not be able to get the following books, or types of books, from school libraries?"  On average, 62% percent opposed "books with explicit language."  No other category rated higher.

Here is an interesting breakdown that shows, among other things, opposition to explicit books in public schools rises to 74% in certain groups:

"Do you think that children should or should not be able to get the following books, or types of books, from school libraries?"

Summary of those saying "probably should not" or "definitely should not"

Base: All adults

Echo Boomers (18-34)Gen X (35-46)Baby Boomers (47-65)Matures (66+)MaleFemale
Books with explicit language62486168745767

TotalEducationPolitical Philosophy
H.S. or lessSome collegeCollege gradPost gradCons.Mod.Lib.
Books with explicit language6265625853746142

That evidences that the majority of the public opposes school library books having explicit language.  See Board of Education v. Pico, 457 U.S. 853 (1982), allowing for the immediate removal of such books from public schools.

Importance of Harris Poll Results to Communities

Why is this Harris Poll important to communities?  The ALA, the National Coalition Against Censorship [NCAC], and the American Civil Liberties Union [ACLU] actively work to convince communities to ignore community standards so as to get communities to decide for themselves to allow their own public school children access to explicit material in public school libraries.  The Harris Poll, on the other hand, shows the majority of people oppose explicit material in public school.  So that will enable communities to gauge what are the community standards, provide a solid basis for that support, then apply those standards even when the ALA / NCAC / ACLU say the opposite.

ALA and NCAC Awards Librarians Who Oppose Community Standards

The ALA and the NCAC, for example, award school librarians when they reflexively report to them and support allowing public school children access to explicit material.  See, for example, "School Media Specialist Passes Sexual Content Review to Students; Dee Venuto Says It Is Discrimination to Keep Children From Material Including Lengthy, Vivid Descriptions of a Ménage a Trois."  One of the books that public school librarian Dee Venuto supported for children included the following depiction:

The Harris Poll now makes clear that most people do not want explicit material in public school libraries.  That graphic shows two boys watching two men doing something explicit.  That's the type of material most people do not want children to have in public schools.  That's part of the material for which librarian Dee Venuto won awards from the ALA and the NCAC.

Harris Poll Used By Library Community for Propaganda

The Harris Poll itself has been used by the library community for propaganda purposes.  By leaving out the information that most people oppose explicit material for children in public schools, the poll takes on a misleading light.  Read this for yourselves and see if you agree, and notice the information about the explicit books is completely missing:  "Most Americans Opposed to Banning Any Books," by North Dakota Library Association, Intellectual Freedom Blog, 14 April 2011.

That is copied wholesale, by the way, from the Harris Poll without attribution, in other words it was plagiarized, but by itself it presents an incomplete story, therefore it is misleading.  By contract, here is a media source that gives the whole story along with proper attribution:  "Most Americans Opposed to Banning Any Books; Large Majorities, Including Most African Americans, Oppose Changing 'Nigger' to 'Slave' in 'Huckleberry Finn,'" by Harris Interactive, The Sacramento Bee, 12 April 2011.  Being honest and truthful is not that hard to do.  I have noticed the ALA makes a practice of plagiarism.  See also, "Most Americans Opposed to Banning Any Books?," by Rob, The "C" Word, 18 April 2011.

ALA Silence on Harris Poll Shows It Hurts ALA Efforts

The ALA itself has not addressed this particular Harris Poll.  It is my experience the ALA never reports on anything that does not favor its viewpoint unless forced to do so, such as its loss in US v. ALA.  This confirms to me that the ALA sees the results of this Harris Poll to be a threat to its efforts to convince the public not to protect their own children.  That's why I am broadcasting this threat to the ALA—because it helps communities to protect their children.  Remember, the ALA mocks protecting children, then attacks those who attempt to do so.

Examples of Common Sense and Community Standards

Lastly, here are some refreshing applications of common sense and community standards in public schools:

Natasha Friend, the
award-winning author

These people didn't let the ALA / NCAC / ACLU fool them into allowing explicit material in public schools.  You shouldn't either.  And now you have the Harris Poll for further support.


The ALA has finally commented on the topic!!!  See:
Here is the comment I added:


Gordon Flagg, I am happy to see the ALA finally addressing the Harris poll. I see it somewhat differently than you do, however, and I ask you to see “Most Oppose Explicit Books in Public Schools Says Harris Poll” for my view.
Basically, since no books have been banned in the USA for about half a century, the most interesting and useful part of the poll is that most people oppose explicit books in public schools. As you say, “Respondents were somewhat less keen on unfettered access when it comes to making materials available to children in school libraries. …. [A] strong majority (62%) say that school libraries should not offer books with explicit language.”
That’s the real takeaway of the poll. We already know people oppose banning books—that’s why there’s been no book banning in the USA for about half a century. The new material revealed by the poll is that most people do not want explicit books in public schools. That is highly relevant as the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom would have people believe they are censors for believing that. The nation comprises 62% censors, if the OIF was to be believed.
When I advise people who ask me about explicit books in public schools, I advise them the Harris poll shows most people agree with them, and that may indicate community standards. I give them a short URL to emphasize the point:tinyurl.com/MostOpposeExplicitBooks.
I am happy you mentioned that most oppose explicit books in schools. Too bad the OIF will continue to oppose communities trying to implement the common sense/community standard expressed in the Harris poll. I will not only advise people of the Harris poll, but now I’ll point to your article to show the ALA is aware that most people oppose explicit books in public schools. Yet the OIF will continue to oppose communities. I think people should know that when considering how much weight to give to the ALA’s censorship claims.
Thank you very much.


A second Harris Poll taken four years later has essentially confirmed the first:

Notice the statistic about how people are more likely to read a book if it is "banned."  Is there an economic motive to the Banned Books Week hoax?


  1. Polls often skew strangely, depending on who's polled and how. It is very possible that those polled were thinking of elementary school libraries versus high school libraries. Sad, either way, that "explicit language" (rather broad and undefined, no?) is the benchmark. Librarians, well represented by the ALA, know where kids live, and respect them enough to allow them books that speak to them (with or without that horrible, awful, damaging F-word), teach them how to make better choices, and help them beyond some perceived "community standard" that most likely is not that at all. This discussion is so tiresome. Spend a day or two reading my email. Open your eyes.

  2. Ellen Hopkins, thank you for writing here. I believe you have written on my blog in the past (several times in the comments of my most popular blog post entitled "Kentucky School Superintendent Exposes False Cries of Censorship; Removes Educationally Unsuitable Books from Curriculum Despite Being on ALA's List for Reluctant Readers"), and I appreciate that. For those who do not know, Ellen is an author, and a popular one. I encourage people to check her out.

    Ellen, I agree with you about polls. I think the Harris Poll in this case is pretty clear, however, and it is a perfect reflection of common sense and community standards.

    I know you just tweeted, "The quickest way to controlling minds is controlling information. 'Community standard' is keyword for censorship." You are correct about the first sentence, but your second sentence is wrong. Indeed, many decisions are based on community standards. To call community standards "censorship" is a little extreme, to say the least. But I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and say the tweet, having only 134 characters, may not actually express what you really meant. Therefore, having relatively unlimited space here, please explain/expand on what you really meant in that tweet.

    As to reading your email, I am certain you are positively affecting many children. And I encourage you to continue to do so. But that is not the issue with which SafeLibraries is concerned. Authors may write anything they wish. The problem I address is with the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom. It is that office that misleads local communities into leaving their children exposed to harm it is legal to prevent. I speak to that dishonest activity, not to the creative activity of authors. The Kentucky school superintendent saw through the misinformation, and I cannot be blamed for publicizing his success and the success of others in setting aside the ALA dogma.

    As you can see, I get what you are saying. It's you, Ellen, who has to wake up to the possibility that the ALA OIF may be misleading communities nationwide. I would go away if the OIF would simply stop misleading communities.

    I hope to hear from you again, Ellen, and thanks again.

  3. I love that you use the one statistic in the study that confirms your argument (the "explicit language" sub-section, and ignore the rest of the data which overwhelmingly shows that most Americans argue the other side - that most books should NOT be banned. At least try to be subtle if you are going to mislead your readers.

    1. Most books should not be banned, that's what most people say in the Polls. That said, most people oppose sexually explicit books in public schools, per the Polls. So does the US Supreme Court. So do community standards. So does common sense. So do your parents, on the average.

      Besides, removing sexually explicit books from public schools is not book banning. Even the creator of the "Banned Books Week" hoax at the American Library Association said, "On rare occasion, we have situations where a piece of material is not what it appears to be on the surface and the material is totally inappropriate for a school library. In that case, yes, it is appropriate to remove materials. If it doesn't fit your material selection policy, get it out of there."

      So simple, "get it out of there," as the ALA leader said, and both Harris Polls support essentially just that, let alone the US Supreme Court. And I pointed that out as part of my commentary. You are just annoyed that I did.

      The point is the majority of people oppose sexually explicit materials in public schools while the tactic of those trying to force their worldview on schools is to target the one parent, the one "censor," as some kind of lone wolf. In reality, most people support those who challenge sexually inappropriate materials in public schools, and these two Harris Polls demonstrate that.

      Anonymous, thanks for writing, open your mind, and be honest.


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