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Michigan Town Votes On Whether To Have Library At All If That Means LGBTQ+ Books Still Exist
It's one of those Catch-451 situations.
Big Electoral Doin's in western Michigan today, as the voters of Jamestown Township (population 10,000) have a second chance to fund their public library. Back in August, Jamestown made national news after a vote to deny funding for its Patmos Library because its collection included some books with LGBTQ+ themes, which were simply too porny for the good Christians of Jamestown, although as Yr Wonkette pointed out at the time, there are plenty of popular trashy books with straight people having unmarried sex on the shelves, which we have to assume would be right uncomfortable.
Read More About The Drive For Less Reading:
The Patmos Library has so far managed to stay open, Bridge Michigan reports, thanks in part to existing funds and to a very successful crowdfunding effort that raised $272,000 in the wake of the national coverage of the little town that would rather hate LGBT people than have a public library. Library officials appreciate the support but said that — unlike Yr Wonkette — the library can't survive on donations alone. If today's vote to renew and increase the "millage" — the percentage of property taxes going to the library — fails, the library will have to close sometime in the fall of 2024.
The township will also vote today for the library board, and a slate of candidates is running on a vow to eliminate all books about LGBTQ+ subjects from the children's and adolescents' sections of the library. We suppose that means some books might be kept in the Adult section, although for all we know patrons might have to wear a scarlet Q to check them out. (Or is that letter holy?)
Jamestown Township is extremely conservative; Donald Trump won the area by 76 percent to 21 percent in 2020. Dean Smith, treasurer for the Vote No campaign and chair of the township's planning commission, explained that the library should represent the community's views, which we presume means only those he agrees with, you commie prevert. He explained that "This is Jamestown. This isn’t New York or LA or even Grand Rapids.” Heck, he didn't even mention the deviltry they get up to in Slapneck or Jugville.
Also, in a refreshing change from the usual rightwing complaint that The Gays are trying to cram anything down the community's throat, Smith said that today's vote "could go either way," so it's nice to see some bi representation among the bigots.
As so often happens, the fight over dangerous LGBTQ+ books started when some snoopy snooperton hopped up on rightwing rage discovered that the library owned a copy of Maia Kobabe's graphic memoir Gender Queer: A Memoir, the most-challenged book of 2021 and probably '22 as well. Other Wrongthink titles were also found, and the Uptight Citizens Brigade demanded they all be banned, after which the library board said no, we're a public library and the public includes more than just you, nobody's making you read anything, you goosestepping shits. (We're hoping the board said something like that, at least.)
The library attempted to cool things down by moving Gender Queer from the stacks to behind the front desk — probably as much to prevent it from being stolen and destroyed as to get it out of public view. But that wasn't enough, and the mandatory harassment and accusations of "GROOMER" commenced, and the library director resigned, as did her successor, and then the town voted 62 percent to 37 percent not to fund the library, hooray.
Smith, the Vote No treasurer, insisted that "No one wants the library to close," but that the potential danger of kids stumbling across a book that has gay characters is simply too great:
But we don’t want parents to take their children to the library and their children happen upon this, and then they have to have a conversation years ahead of when they want to.
Some consider it kiddie porn and that’s not an exaggeration in my mind.
Again, no libraries stock kiddie porn, which is kind of a felony, but presumably he means that if a child sees Prince and Knight , a children's storybook about boy dragon hunters who fall for each other, with not so much as even a chaste gay kiss, will turn them into sex-crazed gay persons, which is not a thing that happens anyway .
This time out, the pro-library campaign has upped its game: Before the August vote, Citizens for Patmos Library raised only about $1,000 for its campaign, but now the library supported raised more than $50,000, which is helping to cover signs, mailers, and get out the vote efforts.
Library Board President Larry Walton said he's hopeful for a better outcome this time:
"I’ve had a number of people who said they voted no (in August), not realizing the ramification of it, and they were changing their vote (Tuesday),” Walton said. “Communicating is No. 1 right now, letting people know the library will close without this.
“We know this will be a close race, so we gotta tell people if you want the library to stay open you gotta come out and vote.”
We'll keep you updated, folks. Let's hope the sane people show up. If not, the library will immediately cut its hours of operation to make whatever funds and donations it may yet receive stretch as long as possible before the end comes.
[ Bridge Michigan ]
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