(NEW YORK)– The City Council in League City, TX passed a resolution late Tuesday night by a 4-3 vote that bars the use of public money for purchasing, displaying, or stocking books in public libraries that fit certain categories, including those that  “contain obscenity or other harmful content” which feature pedophilia, incest, rape, or bondage, and are intended for any audience below the age of 18, and a ban on books that discuss or depict any type of sex, nudity, sexual preference, or related topics, where the intended audience is below the age of 10. The resolution also creates a “community standards review committee” to be appointed by the council, which will review and make determinations about objections to any materials in public libraries “for which the intended audience is under 18.”

In response, Jonathan Friedman, director of Free Expression and Education programs at PEN America, issued the following comments:

“Restricting the purchase and circulation of library materials by government edict is anathema to the principles of free speech and access to information that undergird a democracy. The League City resolution is sweeping and its implications harmful; it could impact a wide range of topics, from fiction books about anatomy, puberty, and sex to young adult novels about teen romance, to memoirs by individuals who have been sexually assaulted. Further, the resolution’s mandate for the creation of an ostensibly political body to facilitate the banning of books undermines the role of library professionals, charged with the curation and provision of library materials. This censorious effort should concern us all– government officials should not try to dictate what kinds of books can be read.”