Mayor Jeff Bauknight says books in question at Victoria Public Library will not be removed

"We do not want to violate resident's first amendment rights or attack LGBTQ perspectives," says Mayor Bauknight.

VICTORIA, Texas – During a board meeting on September 13 Victoria Mayor Jeff Bauknight clarified that the city council does not recommend removing or relocating books because of LGBTQ content, saying that “we do not want to violate resident’s first amendment rights or attack LGBTQ perspectives,”.

During that meeting, the Victoria Public Library advisory board adopted an updated collection development policy that affirms the library’s commitment to offering materials that reflect the interests of the Victoria Community without excluding different points of view.

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Victoria Mayor Jeff Bauknight speaking at the library advisory board meeting.

Discussion of age-appropriateness continues

Bauknight told the board members that most City Council members wanted the board to take some type of action regarding what some believe to be sexual content (regardless of sexuality) in the children’s and young adult sections of the library. He suggested two possible solutions: moving the books to the adult section or creating a separate section for certain children’s books so that only a parent or guardian can access them.

Later in the meeting, City Manager Jesús A. Garza explained to the board that such practices could not be included in the collection development policy because they relate to the placement of books in the library, not the inclusion or exclusion of materials. The board expressed interest in learning more about the library staff’s book placement processes. These processes will be discussed at a future meeting.

Under City code and state law, it is illegal to display or distribute harmful materials to minors. However, as Lacey has explained at previous library board meetings, sexual content does not necessarily meet the legal definition of “harmful” if it appears in a literary, artistic, or scientific context.

The City code is available online at www.victoriatx.gov/citycode. State law may be viewed at www.statutes.capitol.texas.gov.

Victoria Public Library Director Dayna Williams-Capone says that including a book in their collection doesn’t mean they are endorsing it or that they value one book over another, and that their goal is to provide access to a variety of books and ideas for residents to choose from.