The presence of LGBTQ+ books in libraries has always been a hot topic
Conservative families tend to believe that their children being exposed to LGBTQ+ stories will harm them or perpetuate the narrative that even if they are ‘ok’ with LGBTQ+ people, children shouldn’t know about their existence until they grow up. This train of thought motivated a politically conservative community in Ottawa County, Jamestown Township, to reject the renewal of a millage for supporting the Patmos Library.
As per the State of Michigan’s website, a millage rate is a rate at which property taxes are levied on the property. Without its millage, there’s a high chance the library will run out of money at some point in 2023, stated Larry Walton, the library board president.
He also expressed disappointment upon the decision to defund the library, as he considers the Patmos library the center of the community.
The decision to oppose LBTQ+ books seems to trump the desire to live in an intellectual community. The millage was rejected by a 25-point margin of 62% to 37%, and the only library not to pass the vote was the Patmos Library.
On the bright side, not all Michigan residents are on the same page regarding the library’s funding. Residents of Jamestown Township raised nearly $135,300 for the Patmos Library.
Jesse Dillman, a Jamestown resident and father of two, began the initiative in an online fundraiser for the $245,000 necessary to keep the library running for more time.
While still not enough to cover its annual budget of $245,000, it is better than nothing, and money is still being raised. Dillman congratulated all donors for blasting through the halfway point and has spoken with many residents who support the library.
On top of that, Dillman contacted the EveryLibrary Institute to help them get the most out of the funds for Patmos Library, with them being set up as beneficiaries for their GoFundMe.
Even as of writing this article, people are donating from as far as the UK, supporting the visibility of LGBTQ+ young people.
Library employees cross-state and families stating that materials of all sorts should be available at a library were among the supporters of the fundraiser.
There’s a high chance that the goal might be reached before the end of August, meaning the Patmos library will live to provide guidance for children and young for more years, without ever taking any book off its shelves.