Best-selling romance novelist Nora Roberts is helping a Michigan library stay afloat after community backlash centered on LGBTQ+ books in the library led to a vote rescinding its funding. The library says it has about 90 such pieces of material out of a total inventory of about 67,000.
After hearing the news, Roberts donated $50,000 to the Patmos Library GoFundMe and would have donated more but GoFundMe caps donations at $50,000. Roberts’ publicist told WoodTV that library leaders could reach out if they need more.
About 85% of the library’s funding came from a property tax and after voters denied to renew it the library was on track to run out of funding by late-2023. But with Roberts’ donation, plus donations from others interested in supporting the library the GoFundMe has raised over $260,000 dollars to help them stay open.
The library will be attempting to get its funding reinstated on the Nov. 8 ballot.
“We are confident we will have a record number of Yes voters turnout November 8th, thus sending a message to the Jamestown Conservatives that our Community want our Patmos Library doors to remain open and ALL books to remain on our Shelves; not removed or hidden,” the board stated.
Roberts herself just wanted to help support a library and was taken aback by what was happening.
“Libraries are treasures, opening the door to books and stories for all,” Roberts told Bridge Michigan. “Librarians, to me, are the guardians of those stories. I find the idea of librarians — who offer community services beyond reading — facing threats and attacks, a community library facing defunding both appalling and sad. It’s an honor for me to stand up for the Patmos Library and its staff.”
The library has no intention to remove any books from its shelves even with the outside pressure from some in the community.
Inspired to Act?
DONATE: If you want to donate to the Patmos Library the GoFundMe is still ongoing. They already passed their goal but are still accepting donations.
SUPPORT: Offer support to LGBTQ+ authors and individuals in your life. Knowing they’re supported is often enough for progress to be made.