Residents of Jamestown Township, Mich., voted last month to stop funding the public library after a conservative group protested the presence of books with LGBTQ themes.
Voters rejected the renewal of a millage – a term meaning a rate of taxation that is expressed in a fraction of a dollar – that comprises the majority of the Patmos Library’s budget. Without the millage, more than 85% of the library’s funding will be cut. As a result, the library will have no other option but to close within the upcoming year.
A group called Jamestown Conservatives has been attacking the library for months. Members accused library staff of seeking to “groom” children by having a small number of LGBTQ books on its shelves. The books comprised less than 1% of the library’s collection.
The library’s director, Amber McLain, resigned earlier this year after suffering harassment and threats. An interim director was appointed, but he also resigned.
The news website Bridge Michigan reported that Amanda Ensing, one of the organizers of the Jamestown Conservatives, said after voting, “They are trying to groom our children to believe that it’s OK to have these sinful desires. It’s not a political issue, it’s a biblical issue.”
Donors have collected $100,000 for the library, but that’s far short of its annual budget
Answers in Genesis, a fundamentalist ministry that promotes creationism, endorsed the voters’ move during an online broadcast.
Host Jennifer Rivera called the story “kinda good news,” while cohost Kaia Kloster added, “Grooming children is basically what the agenda is here.” Kloster celebrated the residents’ vote and lauded it as a strategy for other communities. “Hit them financially, right, which is really a great way to do that,” she said. “It’s so important.”