US library defunded after refusing to censor LGBTQ authors: ‘We will not ban the books’

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2022/aug/05/michigan-library-book-bans-lgbtq-authors

The authoritarian fascist right wing government is moving forward with returning the country to a time when they did not think that the LGBTQ+ did not exist or at least were visible in the public.  Anyone who thinks they are exempt from what is coming is wrong.   Let the destroying of abortion rights be an example of how extreme these people will be.   Now it is any book that has LGBTQ+ content or characters, but how soon will it be any book that has content that the maga crowd don’t support?   How about the drive to not teach the real racist history of the US?  Will those books be banned?   What about books that are against religion?   Will those books be banned?    You fill in the blanks and ask if those books will be banned.   This is the US Taliban people!    Hugs

Residents of Jamestown, Michigan, voted this week to shut down town’s library rather than tolerate certain LGBTQ books

Controversy has swirled around the Patmos Library since patrons began protesting some books with LGBT themes written for young adults.
Controversy has swirled around the Patmos Library since patrons began protesting some books with LGBT themes written for young adults. Photograph: Ron French/Bridge Michigan
 

A small-town library is at risk of shutting down after residents of Jamestown, Michigan, voted to defund it rather than tolerate certain LGBTQ+-themed books.

Residents voted on Tuesday to block a renewal of funds tied to property taxes, Bridge Michigan reported.

 

The vote leaves the library with funds through the first quarter of next year. Once a reserve fund is used up, it would be forced to close, Larry Walton, the library board’s president, told Bridge Michigan – harming not just readers but the community at large. Beyond books, residents visit the library for its wifi, he said, and it houses the very room where the vote took place.

“Our libraries are places to read, places to gather, places to socialize, places to study, places to learn. I mean, they’re the heart of every community,” Deborah Mikula, executive director of the Michigan Library Association, told the Guardian. “So how can you lose that?”

“We are champions of access,” she added, including materials that might appeal to some in the community and not others. “We want to make sure that libraries protect the right to read.”

letter shows alleged timeline of events at library, including acquisition of “gay” and “transgender” books
An anonymous letter Lawrence said was sent to homes in Jamestown. Photograph: Courtesy Matt Lawrence

The controversy in Jamestown began with a complaint about a memoir by a nonbinary writer, but it soon spiraled into a campaign against Patmos Library itself. After a parent complained about Gender Queer: a Memoir, by Maia Kobabe, a graphic novel about the author’s experience coming out as nonbinary, dozens showed up at library board meetings, demanding the institution drop the book. (The book, which includes depictions of sex, was in the adult section of the library.) Complaints began to target other books with LGBTQ+ themes.

One library director resigned, telling Bridge she had been harassed and accused of indoctrinating kids; her successor, Matt Lawrence, also left the job. Though the library put Kobabe’s book behind the counter rather than on the shelves, the volumes remained available.

“We, the board, will not ban the books,” Walton told Associated Press on Thursday.

A few months later, in March, an anonymous letter went to homes in the area. It criticized the “pornographic” memoir and the addition of “transgender” and “gay” books to the library, according to Lawrence. “That fired a lot of people up and got them to start coming to our board meetings to complain,” he said. “The concern from the public was that it’s going to confuse children.”

The library’s refusal to submit to the demands led to a campaign urging residents to vote against renewed funding for the library. A group calling itself Jamestown Conservatives handed out flyers condemning Gender Queer for showing “extremely graphic sexual illustrations of two people of the same gender”, criticizing a library director who “promoted the LGBTQ ideology” and calling for making the library “a safe and neutral place for our kids”. On Facebook, the group says it exists to “keep our children safe, and protect their purity, as well as to keep the nuclear family intact as God designed”.

flyer describes purchase of ‘books with LGBTQ content’ and criticizes staff
A flyer distributed at the town’s Memorial Day events. Photograph: Courtesy Matt Lawrence

Residents ultimately voted 62% to 37% against a measure that would have raised property taxes by roughly $24 in order to fund the library, even as they approved similar measures to fund the fire department and road work. The library was one of just a few in the state to suffer such a loss, Mikula said: “Most passed with flying colors, sometimes up to 80%.”

The vote came as a “shock” to Lawrence, who left his job in part because of town officials’ criticism of the Patmos library and libraries across the US.

“I knew that there were people that were upset about material in the library, but I figured that enough people would realize that what they’re trying to do with the removal of these books is antithetical to our constitution, particularly the first amendment,” he said.

The vote comes as libraries across the US face a surge in demands to ban books. The American Library Association identified 729 challenges to “library, school and university materials and services” last year, which led to about 1,600 challenges or removals of individual books. That was up from 273 books the year before and represents “the highest number of attempted book bans since we began compiling these lists 20 years ago”, the ALA president, Patricia Wong, said in a press release.

“We’re seeing what appears to be a campaign to remove books, particularly books dealing with LGBTQIA themes and books dealing with racism,” Deborah Caldwell-Stone, head of the ALA’s office for intellectual freedom, told the Guardian last year. Celebrated books by Toni Morrison, Alison Bechdel and Ibram X Kendi are among those facing bans.

“I’m not quite sure what instigated the culture wars that we’re seeing, but libraries are certainly at the front end,” Mikula said. Indeed, as states across the US move to deny LGBTQ+ rights, the ALA’s No 1 “most challenged” book last year was Gender Queer.

“​​When you remove those books from the shelf or you challenge them publicly in a community, what you’re saying to any young person who identified with that narrative is, ‘We don’t want your story here,’” Kobabe told the New York Times in May.

Each library chooses its own collection, Mikula noted, an intensive process that involves staying abreast of what’s new, listening to what’s being requested, and “weeding out” selections that are rarely on loan.

“Our librarians are qualified. They have advanced degrees,” she said. “We want to make sure that the people who have been hired to do this work are trusted and credible, and that they’re making sure that the full community is represented within their library. And that means having LGBTQ books.”

If community members oppose the inclusion of certain books, there are formal means of requesting their removal, involving a review committee and ascertainment that the person making the appeal has actually read the book in question. But recently, she said, people have been “going to board meetings, whether it’s a library board meeting or a school board meeting and saying, ‘Here’s a list of 300 books. We want them all to be removed from your library.’ And that’s not the proper channel, but they’re loud and their voices carry.”

Those are some tough librarians who stand up for free speech and minority rights.

I laughed at one point about one particular line in some of the articles:

 

“Most people who said they voted to defund the library Tuesday, said they didn’t believe it would close.”

 

What the fuck did you dipshits think would happen when you took away their funding?

 

The same dipshittery that gave the UK Brexit.

 

Yep. People said in the days after they voted for it, not believing it would actually happen.

This’ll keep the kids from reading and give more time for the local clergy to rape them.. So I’m sure the town see’s this as a win/win.

There are 19 churches within a 2.5 mile radius of the center of this shithole. Just wow. At least according to Google Maps.

Let’s face it, Republicans would defund every library on the planet if they had the opportunity, them saying it’s LGBTQ+ related is just trying to score extra points with their knuckle dragging constituency.

Meanwhile this shit goes unchallenged.

If DeSantis or Trump gets into the White House in 2024, this is the America we’ll be facing, peeps.

Yeah, dammit. We want our citizens to be uneducated. None of that there learnin’.

They want books censored. Books that come with no pictures and require an imagination to illustrate. The books that almost no one reads.

Meanwhile, on the internet you can find videos of the kinkiest sex acts with even the most simple searches. They all carry the internet in their pocket 24/7.

If I had the money I would fully fund the library and turn it in to an LGBTQ resource center and history museum just to explode the heads of these small minded freaks.

 

Then the townspeople would simply burn it down. That’s the level of hatred we’re dealing with here.

But the Holy Book is just fine. You know, the one that talks about slavery, rape, misogyny, pederasty, incest and mass murder. This one:

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Houndentenor • an hour ago

Of course the fascists hate the library. Free books and media? People can watch movies, read books and magazines and listen to music without paying anything other than taxes? That’s communism!

Bob’s Your Uncle – BYU • an hour ago • edited

MAGAts don’t read anyway, so for them it’s no big loss to close a library.

“Make America Great Again” means keep kids ignorant about human sexuality, like many were in the 1950s, when they were taught that girls could be impregnated by kissing boys and that gay sex was only practiced by devil worshipping atheists and godless commies.

Keeping kids away from science or knowledge was a thing when people sought books on evolution and slavery because white Christianity was the only acceptable belief system, except where Jews were tolerated.

Sick Rectorum • an hour ago

“We have no books & no teeth but at least we’re not gay.”

Ann Kah • 38 minutes ago

Correct me if I’m wrong, but as I recall, reading any particular library book is optional. Nobody is going to get held back a grade for not reading the books. Oh, I forgot, conservative dictionaries don’t have the word “choice” in them.

Gregory In Seattle • 43 minutes ago

And followed immediate by an article about Senator Rick Scott screeching against Democrats allegedly trying to cancel culture and burn books. Republicans are constitutionally incapable of recognizing hypocrisy.

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