Public Libraries for Bipartisanship
As political polarization hammers away at families, workplaces, and government, policymakers must think quickly and critically about ways to bring Americans back together. One solution lies in an oft-overlooked, time-honored American resource: U.S. public libraries.
Our Solutions In Brief
Tapping local public libraries in the fight against polarization, Washington could provide funds for a specifically bipartisan-focused grant program at the IMLS. Titled Public Libraries for Bipartisanship, the program would empower local libraries to implement workshops designed to engage their communities in bipartisanship. These would include forums for neighbors to engage in spirited public debate, gain exposure to a wide array of political opinions, and acquire the tools for navigating our increasingly complex digital information landscape.
In a 2019, 20% of Democrats and 15% of Republicans
Answered “yes” to the question, “Do you ever think: we’d be better off as a country if large numbers of [Opposing party] in the public today just died?”
In 2016, 77%
of both Republicans and Democrats had a spouse or partner of the same political party
In 2016, more than 27%
of voters lived in a precinct that swung three-quarters or more toward the same presidential candidate
In a 2016 survey by Pew Research,
46% of Republicans stereotyped Democrats as lazy while 70% of Democrats stereotyped Republicans as close-minded.
49% of U.S. Adults
say they often get their news from TV
16% of Americans
stopped talking to a family member or close friend as a result of the 2016 election