Michigan library could close after city votes to deposit it for more than 5 LGBTQ-themed books

Jamestown Township, Michigan — A small town in Michigan is engaged in a war for words. The Struggle in Jamestown Township includes more than five LGBTQ+ themed books.

The books include ‘The Breakaways’, two books from the ‘Heartstopper’ series, ‘Kiss Number 8’ and ‘Spinning’.

A group called the Jamestown Conservatives recently led a successful campaign to essentially fund the city’s library and remove the books from its shelves.

“These books and lifestyle choices are destructive and wrong,” a Jamestown resident said at a meeting about the removal of the books.

Library board chairman Larry Walton says removing the books is censorship.

“It’s heartbreaking to be associated with this situation,” Walton said. “I feel like we’ve gone back in time a little bit by talking about banning books.”

Across the country, book ban in libraries and schools is gaining momentum. A recent research found that more than 1,600 books were banned in more than 5,000 schools in 32 states between July 2021 and June 2022.

“What we’ve seen are citizens calling and filing criminal complaints about books available in libraries,” said Jonathan Friedman, director of free speech and education programs at PEN America, a free speech advocacy group. “And I’ve seen that in numerous states.”

Jamestown resident Dean Smith is one of those who want the books off the shelves. He says his opposition isn’t about bigotry or bigotry, but instead about keeping explicit books away from children.

“Community standards in Jamestown are not the same as in New York, LA or even Grand Rapids,” he said. “We don’t want sexual or violent graphic material on display for children to see when they enter the library.”

Emotions were high during the library board’s September meeting on the matter.

“I appreciate passion. Yes,” said board treasurer Deb Fridsma during the meeting. “But it’s a slippery slope. You cherish your freedom, but what you’re doing now is taking away the freedoms of others.”

The final chapter will be written in November, when voters will again be asked to decide the library’s funding and fate.

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