In response to months of community concerns, Montgomery County officials voted to limit kids’ access to sexually explicit books in the county’s public libraries.

Officials also expanded the library system’s ability to buy books based on traditional values, which parents say are absent from county library shelves.

The policy changes were approved during the July 11 Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting.

“It is not okay to have our children reading pornography,” Conroe father Martin Etwop told commissioners. “We’re not banning books; we’re saying find the appropriate location.”

Michele Nuckolls, a Montgomery County mom who advocates for keeping the children’s section of local libraries safe and appropriate for kids, reminded commissioners that “the library policy requires balance.”

Nuckolls told the court she spoke with Library Director Rhea Young in March, after she found more than 100 books teaching “alternate gender ideologies” but was “not able to find one book addressing the conservative traditional point of view on gender.”

She said Young admitted the library system has a problem.

Nuckolls said Young told her that she couldn’t buy requested titles from conservative publishers like Brave Books because the books are not sold by either of the county’s two approved vendors.

“I believe Miss Young lied to me about why she could not purchase these books,” Nuckolls said.

It is clear our library director, Miss Young, is an activist working to prevent evidence-based, well-researched books such as “Irreversible Damage” by Abigail Shrier from being available to parents who desperately need this information.

Commissioners discussed the proposed library policy changes in closed session before deliberating and voting in open court.

“We’re not as a body going to get into banning books,” said Commissioner James Noack, who introduced the proposals.

He said the court’s intent was to identify library materials that may not be appropriate for children and to ensure the library system’s selections are more balanced.

The court directed the county’s purchasing agent to broaden the list of approved book vendors to include sellers of conservative-themed books that have been requested by community members.

Commissioners also instructed Young to group books in the children’s collection by genre so books with sexual themes are easily identified, and approved a policy that children under 18 years old cannot check out books with adult content.

“If you don’t put an age on it, then we aren’t really solving any of the issues having to do with younger kids having access to this material,” County Judge Mark Keough said.

The court also gave Young a “full vote of confidence.”

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.