Sanibel Library Meeting Packed After Controversial Transgender Books Found in Children’s Section

July 8, 2022 Updated 5:18 PM ET

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July 8, 2022 Updated 4:36 P.M. ET

SANIBEL (FLV) – Community members packed a Sanibel Public Library Board of Commissioners meeting after parents found controversial transgender picture books in the children’s section of the library. 

Florida’s Voice previously reported on those parents upset to find children’s books about gender transitioning in accessible locations for kids. The books displayed young children choosing whether they wanted to be a boy or girl.

For example, one book found in the library labeled “My Own Way” tells students they can be a boy, girl, both, or none of them.

“Boy or girl doesn’t cover everyone. You might be both. You might be none!” the book said. “You are not only a boy or a girl.”

Parents Outraged to Find ‘Inappropriate’ Gender Transitioning Children’s Books at Sanibel Public Library

Library Executive Director Margaret Mohundro is ultimately responsible for selecting materials by following the library’s policy. The board approves the policy. During the meeting, the board discussed possible procedure changes.

Mohundro tells Florida’s Voice she is working to provide the board recommendations on possible policy changes for the next meeting July 28.

“The Board wants to move forward with this quickly,” Mohundro said.

People both in support and against the books attended the meeting Thursday, June 30. 

Florida’s Voice asked all seven board members through email whether they believed the books are appropriate for the children’s section. Only two responded. 

Board Chair Melanie Congress did not say whether she thought the books were appropriate. Congress referred to her opening statements saying the library is in “unchartered territory” when it comes to navigating the issue. Congress said the board is balancing what is proper, parental rights, and freedom of information.

“I truly believe there is a remedy available to address the concerns of parents regarding the gender-identity books displayed in the youth section,” she said. “The solutions may likely be ongoing, given that this is the first opportunity the Board has had to meet on the issue.”

Commissioner Roy Gibson referred questions to Executive Director Mohundro. 

“Our Library Board members are already in process, and will continue to be diligently reviewing all relevant Library policies.  Until our review is complete, I feel it is premature to comment,” Roy said. 

Sanibel residents pay taxes for the Sanibel Public Library. The Sanibel Public Library is an independent special district and is not affiliated with the City of Sanibel. 

Florida’s Voice asked the Sanibel mayor and city council members if they believe it is appropriate for these books to be located in the children’s section of the library. 

Vice Mayor Mike Miller said he had no comment because the Sanibel Public Library District is an independent governmental body. 

Mayor Holly Smith did not respond with a comment. However, earlier in June the City manager said the city has no comment for the same reason as Miller. 

None of the other council members responded with a comment. 

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