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Banning books or protecting children? West Michigan Library's LGBTQ books take a different view

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OTTAWA COUNTY, Michigan – A man who opposes having LGBTQ books on the shelves of a library in Western Michigan suggests that LGBTQ books could be displayed and even made available to patrons. doing.

Another man who advocated keeping LGBTQ-themed books available to patrons at the Patmos Library in Jamestown Township, Ottawa County, said that the book should be banned where western Michigan bans it. I will argue otherwise.

The two men and several others from both sides of the debate heatedly exchanged views Monday night about the ongoing controversy over the handling of LGBTQ books in public libraries.

Those who advocate that LGBTQ books remain said that public libraries have the right and duty to publish information for all. He said he needed to be protected from

More than 50 people gathered inside the Patmos Library for the Library Board meeting scheduled for August 8th. Six days before his Aug. 2 election, voters in Jamestown Township refused to renew and increase library mileage amid concerns over libraries dealing with LGBTQ materials.

The Library Board decided during the meeting to put the Mirage proposal back in front of voters. I am planning to vote in November.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, several residents on both sides of the issue shared their thoughts and, in some cases, their grievances with the board. However, they agreed that no one wanted the library closed.

Dean Smith said he opposes book bans, censorship, or “anything else that compromises the First Amendment.”

“I don’t want anything overtly sexual or violent, whether gay or straight,” he said.

He made suggestions for materials (LGBTQ-related in this case) that would generate complaints from residents.

“[The book]remains available, but it is not displayed,” he said. “Under the counter. Comes with a jacket. Next to the trash can – whatever.

Related: Patmos library pursues another mirage amid controversy over LGBTQ books

At the other end of the aisle, Joe Spaulding began with a three-minute speech from his favorite book, Matilda, which he grew up with. He read from the pages of the book, placed it on the podium, and turned to the audience.

“I don’t think Western Michigan is the type of community that wants to ban books,” he said. “I don’t think Western Michigan is the type of community that wants to see libraries and people who spend time in them as supervillains.”

Debbie Mikula, director of the Michigan Library Association, said there were 50 library millage proposals across Michigan in the August ballot. Only one was due to an LGBTQ book on the shelves.

“We recognize that individuals have rights and responsibilities as to what material is right for them and their families,” she said. No one has the right to decide if you are reading

Speaking out against LGBTQ books, Donna Rotman told library committees and audiences that tax dollars should not be spent on LGBTQ materials or made available to children in libraries.

“Some of the book content contains graphic and sexual dialogue,” she said. “Obviously, adults would face criminal charges if they read these books to children.”

With Mirage’s failure, the library is projected to lose 84% of its annual budget of $245,000.

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