Conservative Michigan town cancels library funding for LGBTQ book | Michigan News | Detroit

Click to enlarge

Shutterstock

Jamestown Township voters slam library over LGBTQ book.

A conservative Michigan town voted to fund its library this week because residents were angry at an LGBTQ-themed book that sat on its shelves.

About 62% of voters in Jamestown Township, located outside of Grand Rapids, rejected a mileage that funded the Patmos Library.

Today, the library is in danger of closing.

Residents were furious with the graphic novel Gender Queer: A Memoira coming-of-age autobiography that explores the life of the non-binary author and illustrator.

For months, residents have been calling for the book to be withdrawn. The library responded by moving the book behind the counter so it was out of children’s reach.

But it wasn’t enough. Opponents of the novel formed a group, the Jamestown Conservatives, who baselessly suggested that the library was grooming children and led an effort to fund the library.

The group then wanted more LGBTQ books pulled from the shelves.

Library officials declined, pointing out that only 90 of the library’s approximately 67,000 books, videos and other items had LGBTQ themes.

The defeated mileage would have provided 84% of the library’s $245,000 budget.

“I didn’t expect something like this,” said Walton, the library board chairman. Michigan Bridge. “The library is the center of the community. For individuals to be myopic to shut this out on LGBTQ opposition is very disappointing.

A GoFundMe campaign was launched on Wednesday in hopes of keeping the library open. On Friday morning, the campaign raised $4,745.

Fundraising manager Jesse Dillman says Metro timetables that Patmos’ library “is an integral part of our little community” and that his family and many others depend on the collection.

“My kids love the toys and games, my wife and I love renting the puzzles and attending events, and we all love reading books there,” Dillman says. “The state of the library on Patmos has a very direct impact on my family.”

Dillman says he was “disheartened and disappointed” that the library was not funded.

“It even made me a little angry to see people willing to tear down the very fabric of our little community because of this perceived problem,” he says. “I spoke with other residents who were also very concerned about the future of the library after the results were released. Some are even getting more involved to help share the GoFundMe or campaign in other ways.”

About 30% of the canton’s inhabitants turned out to vote. Dillman says he suspects the opponents are a vocal minority and that most township residents support the library.

“I strongly believe that most people in Jamestown are in favor of funding the Patmos Library,” he says. “If we work with the wonderful team at Patmos, I know we can overcome the rhetoric of a small vocal group and get the funding the library needs.”

Stay connected with Detroit Metro Times. Subscribe to our newsletters and follow us on Google News, Apple News, TwitterFacebook, Instagram, Reddit or TikTok.