Image from Dominic Dancs on Unsplash
Book Banning? What about Killing an Entire Library? A blog by Warren Bull
Patmos Library in Jamestown township. Michigan, found itself on the losing end of a vote (1,905 to 1,142) to extend a millage (a tax) that would have cost households $10 to $15 per year. The vote was held during a primary election in August 2022. In 2021 the population of the township was estimated at 9,923.
According to the local newspaper https://www.hollandsentinel.com/story/news/politics/elections/county/2022/08/04/national-attention-jamestown-township-library-millage-fails-over-lgbtq-books/10243485002/
A small group of citizens protested outside the library and in library board meetings because of books that cover LGBTQ issues. The head librarian resigned over what he called “hate speech.” The citizens opposing the tax state said that removing one book from the library and keeping the rest of the books in question in the adult section of the library is not sufficient to allay their concerns.
Larry Walton, the library’s Board of Trustees president said, “We’ve made it known that here at our facility, we have approximately 90 pieces of material that could be relative to LGBTQ out of a total of 67,000. That’s .001 percent of the library’s book offerings.”
Walton said the Board of Trustees follows the Michigan Library Association’s code of ethics. “We need to support First Amendment rights of freedom of speech. That factors into our decision-making, too. We can’t have book banning. We can’t have book burnings.”
The library’s 2023 budget was hugely dependent on the millage passing. Walton said it now has to work on supplementing roughly 85 percent of its budget, or $200,000, to stay open.
A concerned citizen made a fundraiser to keep the Jamestown Township library open next year. The GoFundMe was created by Jesse Dillman, a Jamestown Township resident with a goal of $245,000.
A second vote on the tax will be held in November. For anyone who chooses to donate to the fundraiser, the link is below.