JAMESTOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich., (WOOD) — An Ottawa County library at risk of closing could be getting another chance to secure funding.
Last week, a millage renewal on the August primary ballot for the Patmos Library in Jamestown Township failed. After approving a motion to change ballot language on Monday, the board held a special meeting Friday morning. The meeting lasted for about 20 minutes and ended with the board ultimately deciding to move forward with putting the issue on the ballot again in November.
The board of trustees says the failed millage followed months of controversy and pushback from community members over LGBTQ books and readings being offered in the library. The set of materials represents about .13% of the libraries’ stock of roughly 67,000 materials.
The millage pays for about 85% of the library’s operations. Without the money, library leaders say they are facing closure. After the story received national attention, a community-led GoFundMe raised more than $100,000. Patmos Library Board of Trustees Vice President Angela Rhodenhouse says the GoFundMe dollars will help in the short term.
“Right now, we have enough money to stay open and functioning for about a year. There has been a GoFundMe page that will help us out but as of right now, we have about enough money to stay open a year,” said Rhodenhouse.
In the special meeting, the board voted to simplify language in the millage proposal.
People in support of the millage say they’re hoping more voters turn up to the polls and change the tide.
“I think a lot of people were really disappointed when they found out not supporting the millage would close the library. The library is a really important part of this community,” said Tricia Kryda who supports the millage renewal. “There are always going to be books that people disagree with but it’s important to represent the community as a whole and not just a few. There are kids who need to see those types of books to know that they’re affirmed, they’re respected and also a part of the community.”
Several people who do not support the millage were in attendance of the special meeting. News 8 attempted to get comment from opponents of the millage, but they declined.
The board says they now have to take the millage proposal to the township board for approval. If it’s approved, the newly modified millage ballot proposal has to be taken to Ottawa County by Tuesday, August 16th to make the November ballot.