Michigan Town Defunds Library So Kids Can't Read LBGTQ Books

The Patmos Public Library likely will run out of money and close next year, but some are rallying to save it.
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A Michigan town voted to defund its only local library to keep kids from reading LGBTQ-themed books.

Jamestown Township鈥檚 Patmos Public Library lost 84% of its operating budget on Aug. 2 after an uproar over the books 鈥淕ender Queer: A Memoir,鈥 鈥淜iss Number 8鈥 and 鈥淪pinning,鈥 Bridge Michigan reported. Outraged parents complained the books were 鈥減ornographic鈥 and accused librarians of being 鈥済roomers,鈥 according to The Washington Post.

The vote leaves the library with enough funding until next year, when board President Larry Walton said it will probably have to close.

鈥淚 wasn鈥檛 expecting anything like this,鈥 Walton said. 鈥淭he library is the center of the community. For individuals to be short-sighted to close that down over opposing LGBTQ is very disappointing.鈥

The defunding vote came amid a nationwide effort to review and ban books from classrooms and libraries 鈥 an effort spearheaded by conservatives.

All three books that caused the most stir in Michigan are graphic novels, with 鈥淕ender Queer鈥 being the most banned book in the country last year.

The book never got complaints at the Patmos library until late last year, when a mother made a video deeming the book 鈥減ornographic,鈥 the Post reported.

Visitors enter the Patmos Library on August 11 in Jamestown, Michigan.
Visitors enter the Patmos Library on August 11 in Jamestown, Michigan.
Photo by Joshua Lott/The Washington Post via Getty Images

After a parent complained, the library brought the book behind the counter.

The library director became a target, with parents accusing her of being a 鈥減edophile鈥 who was indoctrinating children. She resigned earlier this year, Bridge Michigan reported.

Despite the criticism, the library board decided to keep the controversial books 鈥 a decision that led to the showdown with voters in this month鈥檚 election.

Books on display at the Patmos Library earlier this month. The library board and staff decided to keep books that caused a local conservative group to call for a town to strip its funding.
Books on display at the Patmos Library earlier this month. The library board and staff decided to keep books that caused a local conservative group to call for a town to strip its funding.
Photo by Joshua Lott/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Salem Sousley, a resident who identifies as a nonbinary person, told Bridge Michigan that access to LGBTQ-themed books is important for children and teens.

鈥淪o many kids are struggling in silence, especially in areas like this,鈥 Sousley said. 鈥淗aving access to resources and materials of people who are sharing your experiences is literally life-saving.鈥

Others seem to agree. Resident-led GoFundMe crowdfunding campaigns to save the library have reached nearly $180,000 鈥 roughly two-thirds of what was lost in the defunding vote. Residents also may get a chance to reconsider the library鈥檚 funding in the November election, MLive reported.

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