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LGBTQ-friendly library receives another mind-blowing donation to stay open amid homophobic protest

A green sign displaying the Patmos Library.

It’s been a contentious year of back-and-forth for Michigan’s LGBTQ-friendly Patmos Library. This mainstay library in Jamestown Township, Michigan has seen challenges to its inclusion of books with LGBTQ+ subject matter — first for being arranged in Pride month displays, then for being shelved whatsoever.

Books like Kiss Number 8 by Colleen AF Venable and Spinning by Tillie Walden were reportedly targeted by name, as well as graphic novel Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe. The latter has prompted challenges all across the country for its visual depictions of sexuality.

Even with the library agreeing to move that specific title behind the counter to be available only by special request, conservative citizens have been outraged enough to shoot down two crucial government funding agreements for the library this year.

Following the first funding vote failure, a GoFundMe for the library took off online. Their regular annual funding of $245,000 a year was surpassed by public donations in just a few days, topped off by a $50,000 donation by best-selling author Nora Roberts.

Related: Iowa homophobes force the only library in their city to close, because how dare people learn things

Now that the latest vote has fallen through — a 10-year levy renewal integral to keeping the establishment running — one more stunning donation has surprised library management in the best possible way.

The Wierda family of nearby Georgetown Township signed a check for a whopping $100,000 for the library, seemingly out of the blue.

Tracie and I have never set foot in the Patmos Library in Jamestown,” Andy Wierda writes in a Facebook post. “However just like a church, restaurant, school etc., a library can be part of the hub of the community. Libraries also serve the most underserved in the community. Not everybody has access to multiple computers, tablets, phones, and hi [sic] speed wi-fi. Libraries give free access to the internet, books, and magazines along with a comfortable environment to utilize them.”

He went on to contend that most of the folks railing against the library are probably not actually involved with the Jamestown community, either. He poses the question, “how many people do you think could have named all 6 board members of the Patmos Library at the beginning of 2022? I am betting it is a handful.”

The outrage is misguided, at best. Out of an estimated 67,000 books on the shelf, the homophobic citizens are protesting a whopping 90 books (about .015% of the inventory) that deal with queer themes.

Related: 32 of the best LGBTQ books to read yourself or gift others

“We will put this donation along with all the other donations that we have received to work in the best way that we can to keep the library open for as long as we can,” staff writes in an official statement. “Know that we are committed to keeping our great institution open and available for all to enjoy as long as possible.”

Even with the massive public support beyond their township, library management acknowledges that they can’t operate off of good faith donations indefinitely.

“We cannot run the Patmos Public Library for the next decade without stable taxpayer support,” reads a previous statement. “We will put these donations to work in the best way we can for as long as we can.”

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