Kaitlin McLaughlin, youth services librarian at Patmos Library, told Washington Post that the “grooming” slur kept coming up in board meetings and on public yard signs.
Heartstopper among the books accused of “promoting LGBTQ ideology” in ongoing battle to defund Michigan library
Heartstopper among the list of books accused of “promoting the LGBTQ ideology”, in ongoing dispute to get Michigan library defunded.
A right-wing group named ‘Jamestown Conservatives’ recently succeeded in defunding the Patmos Library in Jamestown Township, Michigan due to a dispute over LGBTQ+ content on its shelves.
Earlier this year, the group objected to the library’s Pride Month display, accusing it of promoting “the LGBTQ ideology”, with queer-themed books which they referred to as “pornographic materials”.
To be clear, they are – OBVIOUSLY – nothing of the sort.
Residents demanded the removal of five LGBTQ+ books, including Cathy G. Johnson’s The Breakaways, Kiss Number 8 by Colleen A. F. Venable and illustrated by Ellen T. Crenshaw, and two books from Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper series.
Osman’s graphic novels were, of course, the basis for Netflix’s Heartstopper series, which won both international praise and the hearts of people around the world after airing earlier this year.
Patmos Library refused to remove the books.
Then came the campaign to defund the library.
A group called the Jamestown Conservatives passed out fliers saying the library peddled “LGBTQ CONTENT” and “PORNOGRAPHIC MATERIALS.” Up went yard signs against approving tax dollars to “GROOM our kids.”
— Danielle Paquette (@DPAQreport) August 24, 2022
“These books and lifestyle choices are destructive and wrong,” said one Jamestown resident during a meeting on removing the books, per CBS News.
Reports say the campaign front was, essentially, accusing the library of – wait for it – “grooming,” as well as harassing library employees, either online or in-person.
The group passed out fliers at the local Memorial Day parade, with the usual “groomer” and “indoctrination” dog whistles to paint the library as a safety threat.
“I’m not a ‘groomer,” she explained while gathering children’s books for a lunchtime story hour. “I’m not a pedophile. I’m afraid of what people see when they look at me.”
While library director Amber McLain eventually resigned her position, following the dispute.
Patmos Library in Jamestown Charter Township, Michigan, will likely close now that a campaign of bigoted disinformation by the “Jamestown Conservatives” has defunded it. Other small & rural public libraries are at risk, as outside organizations infiltrate our communities.
— LIBRARIAN: Come get some (@LibraryBabbitt) August 3, 2022
“They are trying to groom our children to believe that it’s OK to have these sinful desires,” Amanda Ensing, from Jamestown Conservatives said of library officials, according to Bridge Michigan.
“It’s not a political issue, it’s a Biblical issue.”
While library board president, Larry Walton, says removing the books is the wrong move.
“It’s heartbreaking to be associated with this situation,” Walton said. “I feel like we’ve kind of stepped back in time, talking about book banning.”
CBS further reports that, across the US, book banning in libraries and schools is becoming increasingly popular.
A recent study showed that between July 2021 and June 2022, over 1,600 books were banned in more than 5,000 schools across 32 states.
“What we’ve seen are citizens calling and filing criminal complaints about books available in libraries,” said Jonathan Friedman, director of free expression and education programs at free speech advocacy group PEN America. “And I’ve seen that in numerous states.”
A fundraising page, setup by the library, says:
“Hello from a Jamestown, Michigan resident. Leading up to a local election on August 2nd, 2022, there was a small, but well-coordinated and vocal movement in Jamestown to defund our library. This group stoked outrage due to the presence of some books about the LGBT+ community.”
“The Patmos Library in Jamestown is a core part of the community fabric. I firmly believe most residents here don’t share these views and desire to continue funding our local library. Funds raised here will be donated to the Patmos Library so that we can keep it open long enough to consolidate community support for our library millage.”
In November, funding for the library will be on the ballot again and voters will choose the fate of the library.
Support the library via their GoFundMe page.
Conservatives in #Jamestown, #Michigsn are such SNOWFLAKES!
They are trying to defund the public library. Support the #Patmos Library!@SavePatmosLibhttps://t.co/EB01cyWPm4 pic.twitter.com/hjHufkc8HA
— Sir Meliodas 🇺🇸, ally of 🏳️🌈 🏳️⚧️ (@Dstrick7) August 5, 2022
Update from the Patmos Library Board meeting last night.
Let’s work together to PROTECT this incredible place in November!! #savethelibrary #patmoslibrary #vote pic.twitter.com/LJp7TRI57x
— Vote Kim Nagy, MI Senate, District 31 (@VoteKimNagy22) August 9, 2022