Literary Activism

Mayor Withholds Library Funds Because of Queer Materials; You Can Help Raise It

We shared the news earlier this week that the Ridgeland, Mississippi, mayor Gene McGee was choosing to withhold $110,000 in funds to the public library until they removed all “homosexual materials.” The library is fighting back, reminding the mayor the library serves all residents, not just those with the same beliefs he holds.

The Friends of Ridgeland Library board are stand in agreement with the library and library board in defending the decision to keep books on shelves.

“We on the FORL board are all against this purge and are in full support of the decisions being made by the Board of Trustees for the library. We understand that some of the contents of the library are not for everyone but the library is there to support the community as a whole, not just certain groups or ideologies,” they wrote in a Facebook post.

Both residents and those who believe in the First Amendment outside Ridgeland have reached out asking how they can support the library in their fight against the mayor. A significant amount of money hangs in the balance that would determine the future of the library’s services.

If you’re eager to help the Ridgeland Library, there are a few ways you can send financial donations:

  • EveryLibrary has set up a place for donations. All funds raised through this campaign will go directly to the library to continue operation.
  • Checks can be made payable to Friends of the Ridgeland Library with Ridgeland Funding in the memo. These checks can be sent to Friends of the Ridgeland Library, 397 Highway 51, Ridgeland, MS 39157.
  • The Friends of Ridgeland Library will accept donations directly at paypal@mcls.ms.

If you’re not in the position to make a financial donation, that’s okay. Sharing this information gets the word out and encourages others who can make a donation do so. In an era of increased censorship, money matters, but so does ensuring the word is spread about what’s happening across the country.

Support the library’s mission of access to information and ensure it remains a place where queer lives and voices are seen, shared, and valued. Last fall, a similar withholding of funds from an Alaska public library over the library not providing a list of every book being purchased with a grant led to a citizen-led fundraising campaign that raised over $15,000—significantly more money than the $1,500 being withheld.

We can do the same for Ridgeland.

To help fight against censorship, keep informed with our Censorship News Roundups, and fight back against book challenges with our Anti-Censorship Tool Kit.