JAMESTOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – At the most recent Patmos Library Board Meeting hosted Nov. 21, the board has decided that the library will likely close after two failed millages, and a rapidly decreasing GoFundMe stock of donations.
This board meeting was the first since the failing of a second proposed millage, and after failing to pass an initial one in August.
Library board Treasurer Marcia Frobish announced the September 2024 date as the board discussed the upcoming budget year and approved a proposed budget.
“Yes, we do have money for awhile and we are not closing our doors tomorrow, I promise. We never said that we were,” Frobish said, “We will have to close the library’s doors because we will be out of money. Once we run out of money, we are done, period.”
The library expressed the same sentiment in a statement after the second millage failed.
“We cannot run the Patmos Public Library for the next decade without stable taxpayer support,” the statement said, “If the levy fails, we will put these donations to work in the best way we can for as long as we can.”
Despite a 55.8% vote against the millage of the 10,000 residents in Jamestown, the Patmos Board President, Larry Walton, mentioned that they also may pursue a third millage attempt. He suggested that the library could potentially go to voters in 2023 for a third attempt, or wait to ask voters to re-vote in August of 2024. But an Aug. 2024 vote would not permit the library to access new funds until early in 2025.
When funding challenges arose in August, one of the biggest donors to the cause was Romance Novelist Nora Roberts. She donated $50,000 to help keep the library’s doors open after the first millage vote failed.
The catalyst for much of the public’s disfavor from the library arose when residents became aware of several books at the library that contained LGBTQ content, and sexually explicit content, and wanted the books removed. The requests to remove them were denied by the library.
Executive Director of the Michigan Library Association, Debbie Mikula, said complaints about books in the state’s libraries have skyrocketed. In a typical year, a local library might get one or two “challenges” — requests for a book to be removed from the shelves. “Today,” she said, “some libraries have experienced 15 to 30 challenges in the past six months. Some individuals have (challenged) over 250 books.”
Patmos opened in 2000 and remains one of the few public libraries in the Hudsonville area.