JAMESTOWN TOWNSHIP—What started as a fight over an LGBTQ-themed graphic novel may end with the closure of a west Michigan public library.
Voters in Jamestown Township, a politically conservative community in Ottawa County, rejected renewal Tuesday of a millage that would support the Patmos Library. That vote guts the library’s operating budget in 2023 — 84 percent of the library’s $245,000 budget comes from property taxes collected through a millage.
“I wasn’t expecting anything like this,” Walton told Bridge Michigan Tuesday. “The library is the center of the community. For individuals to be short sighted to close that down over opposing LGBTQ is very disappointing.”
There have been protests at other Michigan public libraries and at school board meetings about books with LGBTQ themes. But Tuesday may be the first time a community voted, in effect, to close its library rather than have it remain open with books some consider to be “indoctrinating” children.
Voters on Tuesday rejected the millage renewal by a 25-point margin — 62 percent to 37 percent — on the same day voters approved millages for road improvements and the fire department.
Ten years earlier, a library millage at a slightly lower rate was approved by 37 percentage points.
For the average home with a market value of $250,000, the new millage, if approved, would have increased taxes about $24.