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Michigan Town Cuts Library Funding Over LGBTQ-Themed Books

Michigan Town Cuts Library Funding Over LGBTQ-Themed Books
A woman working in the library of the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts. (Christophe Archambault/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 11 November 2022 06:42 PM EST

A local public library in Ottawa County, Michigan lost more than 80% of its operating budget after voters rejected a tax levy Tuesday after a controversy over it having LGBTQ-themed books.

Bridge Michigan reported Wednesday that voters in Jamestown Township declined to approve its public library’s local tax levy 56%-44% during Tuesday’s elections.

The county reported 3,060 votes against approving the levy to 2,427 voting in favor.

It is the second time the small community voting against the levy, knocking it down in August 1,904-1,141.

According to Bridge Michigan, it is the first library to lose its public funding after conservative groups across the state protested having LGBTQ-themed books, including the nationally controversial "Gender Queer: A Memoir" which contains graphic depictions and illustrations of "non-binary" sex acts.

The library received more than $270,000 in donations including $50,000 from novelist Nora Roberts after the August vote, helping to fund the library for about a year, the news outlet reported.

"The Patmos Library Board is humbled by the support coming in from all over the world.  From the kind remarks and words of encouragement to the donations that we have received these last few weeks, it means a lot that people are standing with this library and our community," the library said on its web page in August. "The financial support for the library is incredible and will help us weather the immediate crisis. However, we know very clearly that what this library needs to remain open over the long term is to pass the 10-year levy renewal in November."

"We cannot run the Patmos Public Library for the next decade without stable taxpayer support," the post continued. "If the levy passes, we will remain a public library and use the donations to add to our capacities. If the levy fails, we will put these donations to work in the best way we can for as long as we can. Thank you again to all of those who have supported Patmos Library as we are committed to keeping this great institution open and available to all to enjoy, for years to come."

In the wake of Tuesday's vote, the library announced it was closing early on Thursday at 5 p.m. and would be closed Saturday "due to staffing shortages."

Michigan Library Association Executive Director Debbie Mikula told Bridge Michigan that the vote in Jamestown was the only instance of the few out of the state's 40 library tax levy votes that failed Tuesday, to be because of "cultural issues."

Library Board President Larry Walton told the news outlet that absent the tax funding, the library will run out of money and likely close late next year.

"I wasn't expecting anything like this," Walton told Bridge Michigan Tuesday. "The library is the center of the community. For individuals to be short sighted to close that down over opposing LGBTQ is very disappointing."

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Newsfront
A local public library in Ottawa County, Michigan lost more than 80% of its operating budget after voters rejected a tax levy Tuesday after a controversy over it having LGBTQ-themed books.
michigan, lgbtq
480
2022-42-11
Friday, 11 November 2022 06:42 PM
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