Montgomery County Commissioners Court to Vote on Removal of Librarians From Reconsideration Committees

Citizens Review Committee Would Govern Formal Reconsiderations for Childrens, YA & Parenting Books in Montgomery County, TX Public Libraries

The Montgomery County Commissioners Court is proposing and voting on a new Reconsideration of Library Materials Policy on March 26, 2024. This proposed policy would strip librarians at the Montgomery County Memorial Library System of their voice—and the community of the librarians’ knowledge and expertise. Moreover, it gives the power to five, commissioner-appointed citizens to dictate which children’s, young adult and parenting books can remain on the library’s shelves.

Sign this Petition to Ask the Montgomery County Commissioners Court to Reject the new Reconsideration of Library Materials Policy 

This proposed policy infringes on the rights of the citizens of Montgomery County:

  • The policy states: “The Citizen Review Committee should review material and make determinations based on their judgement as it applies to the standards and values of the Montgomery County community.” Those standards and values are not defined. In a diverse community of 600,000 residents, representing different cultures, religions, economic brackets, education, ethnicities, and political beliefs, whose values and standards are being used as a benchmark?


  • The proposed policy notes that “A Montgomery County resident may submit a Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form at any time with no requirement to first attempt an informal inquiry. A resident shall not be required to provide proof of residency to file a request.” (Emphasis mine.) So potentially someone from out of the county, out of the state, or even out of the country, could submit a request as there is no requirement to provide proof of residency.


  • The proposed policy goes beyond restricting or removing children’s and young adult books, (which is troubling on its own) to include parenting books. The proposed policy states, “The members of the Citizens Review Committee shall have the sole authority for the review of materials contained within the children’s young adults, and/or parenting sections.” (Emphasis mine.) So, if a parent would like to check out a book on how to discuss sex with their teenager, any books offering insights or guidance could potentially have been removed from the library based on one nonresident’s complaint and at the discretion of the Citizen Review Committee. The same could be said of any book on topics such as addressing bullying and racism or advocating for an LGBTQ child.


  • The proposed policy requires a book to be restricted from the library shelves as soon as a complaint is made. So if one person objects to a Dr. Seuss picture book or a level reading book on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., those books would be restricted immediately. A tsunami of complaints from individuals outside our state or even our country could deplete the parenting, children’s, and young adult shelves of books based on one person’s biases alone.


  • The proposed policy does not restrict the commissioners from appointing someone from their own staff, in their family or on their payroll.


  • The Citizen Review Committee members could potentially be on the committee for four years, allowing them to determine what books are on the library shelves regardless of the issues the community is currently facing or how the demographics of the community may change.


  • There is nothing in the proposed policy that allows for an appeal—by citizens or librarians—of the Citizen Review Committee decisions.


  • The Citizen Review Committee ‘s decisions override all other library policies.

As a Montgomery County resident and business owner, I am vehemently opposed to this proposed policy. The current policy requires proof that the individual filing the complaint is a Montgomery County resident. It allows for input from librarians. And decisions to permanently remove or restrict books are not based on arbitrary and undefined factors. This proposed revision strips away all of that.

John F. Kennedy once noted: “If this nation is to be wise as well as strong, if we are to achieve our destiny, then we need more new ideas for more wise men reading more good books in more public libraries. These libraries should be open to all—except the censor. We must know all the facts and hear all the alternatives and listen to all the criticisms. Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors. For the Bill of Rights is the guardian of our security as well as our liberty.”

Act Now to Defend the Montgomery County Library 

  1. Sign this Petition to Ask the Montgomery County Commissioners Court to reject the proposed Library Reconsideration Materials Policy, and maintain the existing policy.
  2. Make plans to attend the Montgomery County Commissioners Court public board meeting, and express your opposition to the proposed Library Reconsideration Materials Policy. Wear a "pro-book" t-shirt if you have one, to show your solidarity with Montgomery County Library staff and book-loving patrons. 
    • The citizens portion of the agenda is number 7 on the agenda for Tuesday, March 26. The meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. and you need to turn in the attached form by 9:15. The commissioners court meets at 501 North Thompson, Fourth Floor, Conroe, Texas 77301.

    • Speakers must follow these rules, and sign up to speak by 9:15am prior to the meeting using this form

    • Even if you do not wish to provide a public comment, you can register your opposition to the proposed policy by stating you are "against" agenda item 10.A by completing and submitting this form by 9:15am on Tuesday.
  3. Contact your county commissioner and ask them to oppose the proposed Library Reconsideration Materials Policy under agenda item 10.A at Tuesday's meeting. Find your county commissioner and their contact information here

About Teresa Kenney

Teresa Kenney is owner of Village Books, a community-minded independent bookshop located in The Woodlands, Texas. Prior to opening the bookshop in 2021, she was a freelance writer and contract editor for magazines and clients across the country. You can connect with Teresa through Village Books socials on Instagram & Facebook

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