Some residents concerned about new book policy for public libraries in League City

LEAGUE CITY – Kyrsten Garcia loves books.

“You can learn about yourself, and you can learn about someone else, and find survivors,” she said.

Garcia is a mother, a former teacher, and a current member of the Helen Hall Library Board in League City.

She is also a survivor.

“When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I was at a church lock-in where my parent was a youth pastor, in a position of authority,” Garcia recalled. “There was a separate room where people could go to sleep if they wanted to and I was sexually assaulted by a young boy in my youth group.”

She said her only comfort was found behind the walls of Helen Hall Library.

“I was afraid to talk to any adult about what happened to me, but I grew up here in League City and my parents took us to Helen Hall Library once a week at least every other week and I found stories about women like me, about people who pushed on and survived,” she said.

Now, she worries a recent resolution will prevent children from having the same access.

The resolution was introduced by council members Andy Mann and Justin Hicks, and it would create a policy that could prevent tax dollars from being used to buy any material ruled “obscene.”

The resolution also proposes a 15-person board made up of current library board members and community members. The board would vote on whether or not a book is considered obscene.

“It snowballs. It’s a really big effect,” Garcia said.

The most recent draft lists content, including pedophilia, rape and bondage, gender ideology human sexuality; and books that discuss or depict any type of sex, nudity, sexual preference or related topics where the intended audience is below the age of 10.

“They’re lumping the LGBTQ+ community in with rapists and pedophiles and I find that highly offense and shameful,” said Roy Green, a gay man and concerned resident.

Mayor Nick Long said having what’s obscenely defined solely by the current library board’s discretion is concerning.

“At the end of the day, we’ve gotten to a policy that has an extremely reasonable definition of obscenity using the miller test, which is kind of the gold standard in obscenity,” Long said.

Carolyn Foote, who worked as a librarian for 29 years and is the founder of Freedom Fighters, a grassroots group, says it’s not an ordinary procedure for a city in Texas to create a policy like this for a public library.

About the Author: