Residents raise $100,000 for library at risk of closing after it has funding slashed over LGBT books | US News

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Residents in a small town in Michigan have raised more than $100,000 for their local library after its funding was slashed over the inclusion of LGBT books.

The library is described as the “centre of the community” but has seen its budget cut by 84% after objections from some conservative residents.

Voters rejected a proposal to renew tax funds for the Patmos Library in Hudsonville, eliminating $245,000 (£201,709) of the public library’s annual budget.

The library has been in the crosshairs of some conservative residents since November, when a small group of parents raised concerns over the availability of some LGBT-related books.

While the library reportedly agreed to place a few of the flagged titles behind the circulation desk, it was not enough to persuade the voters to continue to fund the library, NBC reported.

It comes as the state’s supreme court ruled that Michigan businesses cannot fire employees or discriminate against customers because of their sexual orientation, a major victory for LGBT rights in the US state.

Larry Walton, the library’s board president, told local news site Bridge Michigan that he was not expecting the loss of funds and that the library would likely run out of money late next year without those tax dollars.

“The library is the centre of the community,” he said. “For individuals to be short-sighted to close that down over opposing LGBTQ is very disappointing.”

Two days after the vote, Jesse Dillman, a resident of nearby Jamestown, launched an online fundraiser to help raise the $245,000 to keep the library open.

“I am very passionate about this, and I have people that are behind me to do this,” he said in an interview.

“I think I have to do it now, because the iron is hot. If this is going to happen, it’s going to happen now.”

Read more:
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As of Friday morning some $104,832 (£86,322) had been raised towards the goal of $245,000.

One donor, Michigan librarian Beth Pierson, wrote on the fundraising page: “I’m saddened and scared by what I’m seeing across the country regarding the attempts to limit freedom of access to information.

“Thank you for stepping up to do the right thing for the Patmos Library!”

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