Why residents of one Michigan town voted to defund their own library

The vote was intended as a show of displeasure with a selection of LGBTQ-themed books the library had on its shelves.

Photo credit: Jessica Ruscello/Unsplash

This month, voters in Jamestown Township voted to reject renewal of funding for their city’s public library.

The vote occurred after parents raised concerns about a book located in the adult graphic novel section. The graphic novel, “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” includes illustrations of sex acts while telling the story of the author’s coming of age as nonbinary.

The west Michigan township library board will put a slightly adjusted millage on the November ballot in hopes of a different outcome to prevent the library from closing.

“Of the people who voted no, almost every one of them said, ‘oh no, the library will never close.'” — Ron French, Bridge Michigan

Listen: How a graphic novel led one Michigan community to defund its library.



Ron French is a senior writer for Bridge Magazine. He says the ‘no’ voters he spoke to mostly voted to express dissatisfaction and did not think the vote would cause the library to close.

“Of the people who voted no, almost every one of them said, ‘oh no, the library will never close — we’re just letting them know that we’re unhappy with this,'” says French. “Well unfortunately, it does have consequences, this vote. That funding runs out in January unless there is a re-vote.”

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