Thousands raised in online fundraiser after Library of Michigan funding for LGBTQ+ books – The Hill

The story at a glance

  • An online fundraising campaign has racked up tens of thousands of dollars to keep the doors of a local Michigan library open after it was funded earlier this month.

  • More than 60 percent of Jamestown Township residents in an August 2 election voted against a proposed property tax mile renewal that funds more than 80 percent of the library’s annual budget, citing the refusal of the library to remove LGBTQ+ books.

  • The library board at a meeting on Monday said it would pursue another mile.

Nearly $100,000 has been raised in an online fundraising campaign for a Michigan library that was canceled earlier this month after it refused to remove books featuring identities and LGBTQ+ issues.

Residents of Jamestown Township – a conservative stronghold in western Michigan – in a August 2 vote rejected a proposal to renew a property tax mile that funds most of its local library budget.

Patmos Library Board Chairman Larry Walton told the Associated Press following the vote that without the mileage, he expects the library to close permanently before the end of next year. The Patmos Library will retain its mileage until Spring 2023.

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speaking to Michigan Bridge last week, Walton called the vote “shortsighted” and “disappointing.”

“I didn’t expect something like this,” he said. “The library is the center of the community.

In the months leading up to the vote, members of the Jamestown Tory group put up signs in the yard and handed out flyers to other community members accusing the library and its staff of ‘preparing children for the sexual exploitation” by making LGBTQ+ books accessible to young readers.

“They’re trying to groom our kids to believe it’s okay to have these sinful desires,” Jamestown Conservative member Amanda Ensing said of library officials, Michigan Bridge reported. “It’s not a political question, it’s a biblical question.”

Two days after the vote, on August 4, Jamestown resident Jesse Dillman created a fundraising online for the library with an objective of $245,000, or one year of operating expenses. As of Thursday, the GoFundMe campaign had raised nearly $99,000 from more than 2,000 donors.

“I love Jamestown and the people who make up its community,” Dillman wrote in an Aug. 6 update. “They’re the reason I’m here to do this.”

On Thursday, Dillman said the response to the fundraiser had been overwhelming and announced he was partnering with the nonprofit EveryLibrary to distribute the money to the library on Patmos.

On Monday, the Patmos Library Board, after a public comment period of nearly two and a half hours, said it continue another mile.

Posted on August 11, 2022