Fresno County Supervisor Introduces Proposal To Check Children’s Books

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KMJ/KFSN) — A new proposal from a Fresno County supervisor would give parents more control over the books featured in children’s sections.

“This is not about trying to isolate people or divide people,” said Steve Brandau, Fresno County District 2 Supervisor.

Brandau held a press conference Thursday morning announcing his proposed legislation, the Parents Matter Act for Fresno County Libraries.

If passed, it would create new policies and oversight regarding books with sexual content and other age-inappropriate materials found in the children’s sections.

He says the act has been in the works since June after a concerned father reached out.

“Some of them are sexually explicit materials, and they show images that are probably age-inappropriate for young children. Then, there are other books that talk about complex and controversial gender issues,” said Brandau.

Brandau had large prints of pages and a stack of books to show and read from.

“‘What does it even mean to be a boy or a girl? Or to be one or the other. Can’t we be both, neither?’ Question the parents, so this book is very political,” Brandau said while reading from a book.

He made it clear the legislation would not ban any of the books, it would just remove them from the children’s section.

Shelby O’Connor, a mother of 3-year-old twins, says it would give her peace of mind.

“I don’t want to have to take my kids to the library and they run off like they typically do, they both pull books and I am helping one, and then I turn around and the other one has one with pictures that should not be here,” explained O’Connor.

Not everyone agrees with the proposed changes or the committee Brandau says would be created to help oversee books for the kids section.

Jennifer Cruz with the LGBTQ+ Resource Center feels the changes would mean less representation on the shelves.

“They want to, not ban but somehow alter…we have paid master’s degree level library science people reviewing books of what section things belong in,” said Cruz.

“Kids go to libraries because they can’t afford Barnes and Noble, and they need to see books that represent them.”

A spokesperson with the Fresno County Public Libraries says that until the matter is voted on, they have no comment about the proposed legislation or how the library selects books for the children’s sections.

The Parents Matter Act will be voted on at the next board meeting on Tuesday morning.

For more details on Fresno County Library’s book selection process, click here.