Victoria mayor says library won’t be evicted amid LGBTQ book controversy | Reserved for subscribers

Victoria’s mayor said the public library would remain in his building at a council meeting on Tuesday, a day after county commissioners said they could evict the library unless there is a complaint about LGBTQ books controversial not be considered.

As several citizens spoke about the library at Victoria City Council, Mayor Jeff Bauknight responded to comments from Monday’s meeting of the Victoria County Commissioners’ Court and assured those in attendance that the library was not at risk of being expelled. Bauknight also said the city council would discuss possible solutions at the next meeting.

The Victoria Public Library resides in a building at 302 N. Main St. which is owned by the county.

Citizen feedback included praise for the library for creating an inclusive environment, requests to soften the rhetoric around controversial books as decisions are made, and concerns about what children are exposed to. the library. Some citizens said that parents should be responsible for what their children read in the library.

“There is no point in evicting the city or the library,” Bauknight said, noting that County Judge Ben Zeller spoke to city officials that morning saying the county would not evict the building library. “The county just became aware of these books yesterday and feels impudent. I’m sure some passionate comments were made.

In 2021, 44 books were requested to be banned from the Victoria Public Library, 21 of which were reassessed by the library’s advisory board. A group of parents attended the July 19 city council meeting, complaining that some LGBTQ books in the Victoria Public Library were pornographic and harmful to children.

A group of Victoria residents originally submitted 43 official citizen request forms for the reassessment of library materials in the summer of 2021. The library manager rejected requests to remove the materials or move them to an area designated by the library.

All books held by the library require a child’s parents to sign them, Victoria Library manager Dayna Williams-Capone has previously said. She said the library needed to hold on to these books as they are written for often marginalized communities in Victoria.

The council will discuss possible solutions for addressing the controversial books at their next meeting, Bauknight said.

One solution Bauknight would like to see discussed is an updated policy on sectioned books for readers 17 and under, with library staff developing it and presenting it to the library’s advisory board, he said. he declares.

Bauknight had no standing opinion on Tuesday, but suggested an updated policy be in place by the end of September. If that deadline isn’t met, Bauknight said the board could consider a resolution to freeze additions to the library’s collection.

“We can all decide what’s appropriate or not, and we can have differing opinions about it, but we still need a written definition of what these books mean,” he said. “We also need to make sure we don’t trample on First Amendment rights, but we need to do it in a way that protects our children.” That’s what it’s all about – being the adult in the room and providing guidance and protecting the children.

In another action, the city has set public hearings for the 2022-23 budget for August 30 and September 6 with a proposed property tax rate of $0.5582 per $100, a decrease of 3 cents from the previous rate. and a saving of 5.1%, said City Manager Jesús Garza.

City Council also approved the appointment of David Brown, former CEO of Citizens Medical Center, to the Buildings and Standards Committee.

Kyle Cotton was born and raised in San Antonio and graduated from San Antonio College and the University of Texas at Arlington. Cotton covered economic development, healthcare, finance, government, technology, oil and gas, and higher education.

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