Small town library defunded after anti-LGBTQ+ backlash. Residents stepped up to save it

An illustration of books and a rainbow

A small town has rallied around to save a library facing closure after funding was cut amid an anti-LGBTQ+ backlash.

Patmos Library in Hudsonville, Michigan had 84 per cent of its annual budget – amounting to $245,000 – slashed in a vote following an anti-LGBTQ+ backlash.

According to NBC News, the library came under fire when a group of local parents protested over the availability of LGBTQ+ books.

One of the books which reportedly sparked the backlash was Gender Queer: A Memoir, which recounts Maia Kobabe’s “aching journey toward reconciliation with being non-binary and asexual”. The book was the number one most-banned book in the United States between July 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022.

Primary voters subsequently rejected a proposal to renew tax funds for the library, which serves communities in Jamestown Township and the surrounding area.

Larry Walton, the Patmos Library’s board president, told Bridge Michigan: “The library is the centre of the community… For individuals to be short-sighted to close that down over opposing LGBTQ+ is very disappointing.”

Soon after the local library was defunded, a GoFundMe was created by resident Jesse Dillman in order to attempt to keep it open.
So far, it has raised over $120,000 to help keep the library afloat.

Dillman said in the fundraiser: “I am very passionate about this, and I have people that are behind me to do this.

“I think I have to do it now, because the iron is hot. If this is going to happen, it’s going to happen now.”

LGBTQ+ books banned in school libraries across America

LGBTQ+ authors dominated PEN America‘s list of most-banned books in school libraries and classrooms from 2021 and 2022.

PEN America’s study found that 1,145 unique book titles were affected by banning, and that books dealing with LGBT+ topics or with queer protagonists were most often affected.

“Titles that deal explicitly with LGBTQ+ topics, or have LGBTQ+ protagonists or prominent secondary characters have been a major target in the current wave of book bans,” the organisation wrote.

This week, newly-elected district attorney in Tennessee, Coty Wamp, said that she would consider prosecuting educators who stock LGBTQ+ books in libraries.

Though she later denied saying she would prosecute a librarian or teacher for stocking queer books in their schools, she said in a video that some LGBTQ+ books contribute to “delinquency” in children.

“I think that there’s going to come a time in some of these books where it crosses a criminal line,” Wamp said in the video.

“It’s called contributing to the delinquency of a minor.”

Comments (0)

MyPinkNews members are invited to comment on articles to discuss the content we publish, or debate issues more generally. Please familiarise yourself with our community guidelines to ensure that our community remains a safe and inclusive space for all.

Loading Comments