- Nov 10, 2006
Voters in Jamestown Township, near Grand Rapids, rejected a renewal of an operations millage for the community’s public library Tuesday, leaving the library’s future in doubt. Those leading the effort said the library was indoctrinating children.
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.
Without a millage, the library is likely to run out of money sometime late next year, said Larry Walton, library board president. "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."
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.
When the Patmos staff and elected board of directors declined to remove the books from the library's collection, some upset residents organized an effort to defeat the library's millage renewal.
The group, called Jamestown Conservatives, passed out flyers at the town's Memorial Day parade that referenced "Gender Queer: a Memoir," a Pride Month display at the library and a director who, in the group's words, "promoted the LGBTQ ideology."
"Pray that we can make changes and make the Patmos Library a safe and neutral place for our children," the flyer said.
But Walton didn't appear ready to compromise Tuesday. He said he didn't believe the library needed a wake-up call and shouldn't remove books.
"A wake-up call to what? To take LGBTQ books off the shelf and then they will give us money? What do you call that? Ransom?
"We stand behind the fact that our community is made up of a very diverse group of individuals, and we as a library cater to the diversity of our community," he said.