Failure to Ban Books Leads to Defunding Library

JAMESTOWN TOWNSHIP—What started as a fight over an LGBTQ-themed graphic novel may end with the closure of a west Michigan public library.

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.


Attempts to rid the library of the Gender Queer graphic novel was only partially successful as the book was moved from the shelves to behind the counter, where children couldn’t happen onto it.

Complaints were filed about several other books, including “Spinning,” a graphic novel about a teen girl and her attraction to other girls, and “Kiss Number 8,” a graphic novel with similar themes. Those books remain on the shelves of the young adult (high-school age) graphic novels section.

Bridge Michigan carries the story.

Salem Sousley, who identifies as nonbinary and lives close by, said when they see the sign “it turns my stomach.”

“So many kids are struggling in silence, especially in areas like this,” Sousley said. “Having access to resources and materials of people who are sharing your experiences is literally life-saving.”

Amanda Ensing, one of the organizers of the Jamestown Conservatives group, emerged from the library Tuesday wearing an “I voted” sticker. “They are trying to groom our children to believe that it’s OK to have these sinful desires,” Ensing said of library officials. “It’s not a political issue, it’s a Biblical issue.”