JAMESTOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A West Michigan library board has voted to put a millage back on the November ballot after voters turned it down over LGBTQ books.
The Patmos Library Board of Trustees voted unanimously during its Monday meeting.
On Aug. 2, voters rejected the millage for the Jamestown Township library, putting it in danger of closing.
Some speakers during Monday night’s meeting said they voted against the millage because the library’s availability of the LGBTQ books goes too far, despite staff confirming that those only account for .13% of their catalog. Larry Walton, the library’s Board of Trustee’s president, previously told News 8 only 90 titles are related to LGBTQ issues out of 67,000.
“It is manipulative, destructive, and wrong. All of this to say, when did it become a library’s duty to be obsessive about gender and sexuality for children?” one speaker asked.
“The real issue is going behind the backs of parents to groom and indoctrinate their children without parental consent,” another said.
But most of the comments were in support for the library and the millage.
“Patmos Library is a public library. It’s not a church library and it’s not a private library for certain individuals,” one speaker said.
“I might be uncomfortable with a book that you’re fine with. You might be uncomfortable with a book I’m fine with. That’s what makes a public library a public library,” another millage supporter added. “I can take out the books I think are appropriate for me and my family, and you can take out books and other materials that are appropriate at the age they are at.”
Connor Cook spent two and a half summers helping the children’s librarian at Patmos. As an member of the LGBTQ community, he said voting down a financial lifeline for a public institution for these reasons is dangerous.
“That communicates something very moral about our community. Because LGBTQ children and all of us are taught that our survival depends on us being meek and taking up as little space as possible,” Cook said. “It’s not a children’s library. It’s a public library.”
Library administrators have until next week to get the millage and its language turned into the Ottawa County clerk’s office.
— Correction: It was previously reported that it was .001% of books, but it has been corrected to .13%