I didn’t ever think we’d get to this. Sure, we see local book bannings at schools and attempts to ban books at libraries. But Librarians are tough, they stand up to any who tries to ban a book because they believe in free and open access to information for all. Even if it doesn’t match their own thinking. So, why are they banning libraries now?
Radicals, as in radical conservatives, are not happy that the town’s librarians refuse to remove any LGBTQ+ books from the shelves. And why do I call them radicals? Because they’ve been radicalized by those programs that teach them words like grooming.
Grooming used to be a term to describe what ACTUAL child abusers do to coerce their victims. But now, “Grooming” is one of those trigger words that get these radicals up in arms. And if you are against a law such as the ridiculous Don’t Say Gay law in Florida, then you must be a groomer too. That is their only explanation. If you’re against it, you’re a groomer.
This is a deliberate tactic designed to create moral panic and muddy the language. And now that language, “grooming” is being used to describe any books meant for LBGTQ+ teenagers and young adults. According to radical conservatives, we are being accused of trying to groom children to be gay and transgender by making queer literature available for actual LBGTQ+ teenagers and adults.
And that is where the town, of Jamestown, Michigan comes in. They have some serious librarians who don’t back down. The Executive Director of the library stated they want to protect the “right to read” and that it’s up to parents to monitor what their children read while it’s the library’s job to supply books for everyone even if they don’t agree with the content.
A group started protesting the LBGTQ+ books that they carried. Even though less than 100 books out of 67,000 represents less than .001 percent of what they carry. According to these protestors, it doesn’t matter how many books, all must be removed. If they’re not removed then the library must be grooming their children and so they started protesting the mill rate that provides the budget to keep the library open.
At first, the protestors started small, they asked for one specific book to be removed, the librarians first put it in the adult section, but that wasn’t good enough, so the librarians took it behind the counter. Then the protestors came back with a list of more books they wanted to be removed and when the librarians refused, they put on a campaign to stop the millage rate approval at the next election.
Sadly, those protestors won by less than 800 votes. This is different than states reducing funding because they’re spending too much money on the wrong things. This is defunding a library out of an imagined fear. I would daresay that these radical republicans are themselves being “groomed” by the same people who turned CRT into a dirty word.
And if you are thinking of trying to ban a book or a library, please read So You Want to Ban a Book, and remember you don’t have the right to silence someone else’s story.
And now I have an ask. I know many of my readers are with me when it comes to being angry over people who want to ban books or libraries. Here is a link to a Go-Fund-Me page that is collecting funds to help keep the library open. Let’s make sure the Patmos Library in Jamestown, Michigan stays open.