4 members approved to sit on controversial book review committee approved by League City Council

ByJake Magee Community Impact Newspaper logo
Thursday, June 29, 2023
New board in League City gets OK to review challenged library books
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LEAGUE CITY, Texas -- Despite protests from residents, League City City Council members have approved at least four of the seven members that will make up a controversial book review committee.

The video above is from a previous report.

The overview

On June 27, council narrowly voted in favor of the following members to the new Community Standards Review Committee:

  • Former League City City Council Member Todd Kinsey as chairperson
  • Resident Laura Teatsworth as a member
  • Resident Luann Shupp as a member
  • Resident Leslie McKennan as a member.

RELATED: League City council members approve review committee for challenged library books

The committee's makeup will include three library board members, three residents and one chairperson who will vote only in the event of a tie. Many of the same people who protested the committee's creation also spoke against approving only four members of the board instead of all seven members at once.

What they're saying

A couple of residents who spoke out against approving the members said the four proposed committee members are all white, over 50 and Republican. Such members lack the diversity of the city, protesting residents said.

However, Mayor Nick Long said only five qualified candidates even applied for the committee. Four of those ended up as recommendations after Long checked their references.

These four will eventually join three others in reviewing Helen Hall Library books residents flag as potentially offensive or inappropriate to determine if they need to be reshelved or removed.

The backstory

Council in late February passed an ordinance approving the creation of the committee. Before council approved the ordinance, several residents protested, calling the committee government overreach and an attempt to ban books.

Katherine Swanson, a vocal opponent of the committee's creation, said she applied for the role along with a peer. Both called their references, none of which said they were contacted by city officials regarding their committee applications.

RELATED: League City Council passes resolution to restrict public library content to minors

Swanson and others called into question how the four committee members were selected.

"Obviously, the board is stacked," said Marika Fuller, a League City resident who also opposed the committee's creation.

Long said the four proposed members are extremely qualified, not his friends and weren't selected for political reasons. Long said they were not selected on the basis of race or age, either.

"I think if you spent time and talked to those people, I think you would quickly, quickly realize that," he said.

Additionally, the reason only four members were considered June 27 is because none of the library board members had applied despite Long asking them to twice, he said.

"I'd asked for applications from the library board. Nobody submitted," Long said.

RELATED: Experts say Texas' excessive ban on books is 'harmful to students'

What's next

Council will approve three library board members to the committee likely at next meeting, after at least three apply, Long said.

After all members have been approved, all seven will be sworn in, he said.

This article comes from out ABC13 partners at Community Impact Newspaper.