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Midland County commissioners field public opinion on debate over certain library books

They are emphasizing a reconsideration policy that is offered to the public.

MIDLAND, Texas — The Midland County Commissioners Court fielded the public's opinion on how Midland County libraries accept books and where they place them in the library.

Discussion surrounding the books began back in February, when county commissioner Dianne Anderson questioned a library official during Feb. 13th's meeting between the commissioners court regarding how they accept donations.

Later on, Anderson had a list of around 800 books that originated with state official Matt Krause. She used it to claim that some of the books in Midland libraries were not suitable to belong in the young adult section.

“Not all the books that are on this list are even available in Midland County, but it’s just a reference," Anderson said. "There may be other books that aren’t on that list that maybe a parent will look at and they’ll say, 'this needs to be reconsidered for being in the youth section. This needs to be in an adult section'.”

Discussion was more or less tabled until a later destination, which was at today's meeting.

This time, public opinion was opened up at 1:30 p.m., as crowds packed the court room. People were allowed three minutes to talk to the commissioners, as the session lasted nearly an hour and a half.

Some speakers took the side of the librarian, explaining that the staff are trained professionals who know how to deem a book as "safe" for the shelves. 

They also questioned the court themselves, asking why they got to decide which book got in when parents should be paying attention to what their kids are reading.

Meanwhile, other speakers read excerpts of books they found in the library that were in the "young adult" section, calling the books "filth" and questioning why certain books were allowed in the young adult section.

Their reasoning was that some children could be exposed to potentially explicit and pornographic content.

Another hot topic of debate was the reconsideration policy.

This policy allows people to fill out a form that would have librarians analyze a book to reconsider whether it should be taken off the shelves or not.

According to Anderson, the reconsideration form is exactly what she was looking for. 

“That solves the whole problem, because if there is a book that a citizen finds offensive and not appropriate for children 12 to 17, they can fill out the form that should now be on the website and ask for that book to be reconsidered,” Anderson said.

Anderson filled out a reconsideration form on a book called "Beautiful." She also met with library officials to go over the form and how it can be used to help decide what books get accepted.

"I was the first one that had given her a reconsideration form, there just was not awareness," Anderson said. "They had them readily available, but people didn’t really know the process. They didn’t know that they were available. If the county commissioners, if the judge doesn’t know they’re available, then we need to do a better job of letting the citizens know."

If you would like to fill out a reconsideration form, you can do so on the public library's website or in person at the library.

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