A Mississippi library alleges that $110,000 in funding is being withheld by the town’s mayor on account of LGBTQ+-related content in its collection.
Mayor Gene McGe of Ridgeland, Mississippi, has been accused of withholding the funds from the town’s library following complaints made by parents regarding four books featuring LGBTQ+ content, NBC reports.
“Funding for this year was being withheld until we removed what he called ‘homosexual material’ from the library,” said Tonja Johnson, the executive director of the Madison County Library System, in an interview with a local news outlet. “His reasoning that he gave was that, as a Christian, he could not support that, and that he would not release funding until we remove the material.”
While McGe has confirmed that he is withholding funds after receiving complaints from parents, he has not confirmed that the complaints were with regards to LGBTQ+-related material, NBC reports.
The library board has requested a hearing with the Ridgeland Board of Aldermen, Johnson has said. One alderman, Ken Heard, told the local news affiliate that the mayor does not have the power to unilaterally withhold funding.
The library system has so far stood behind its collection, saying in a statement on its website that its mission “is to provide library resources and services necessary to meet the evolving informational, recreational, and cultural needs of the public, thus enhancing individual and community life.”
The material housed in the library “is for people of all ages, races, gender identities/expressions, and orientations,” the statement continued. “Our books are not only a mirror to reflect our community but a window into different worlds and different expressions that enable us to learn. Our materials are available for all. Censorship has no place here in Madison County Library System. Our library is for everyone.”