Bestselling romance author Nora Roberts tells Pride Source she has a simple reason for donating $50,000 to the Patmos Library in Michigan after she learned that, in August, voters in Jamestown Township voted to defund Patmos. Why? According to various news reports, the answer is blatantly homophobic — voters would rather close the library than allow it to stay open and offer LGBTQ+ books to the public.
Roberts wasn’t having it.
“Those in the LGBTQ+ community have every right to find books and stories that speak to them, that reflect who they are, within those walls,” Roberts said in an exclusive statement to Pride Source.
“A library is a place open to all, a place of learning, one that celebrates the exploration of knowledge, of stories that speak to us as humans,” she continued. “All of us, not a select few, but all.”
Roberts’ hefty donation came through a GoFundMe organized by Jesse Dillman, a resident of Jamestown, which is southwest of Grand Rapids. “I firmly believe most residents here don't share these views and desire to continue funding our local library. Funds raised here will be donated to the Patmos Library so that we can keep it open long enough to consolidate community support for our library millage,” Dillman wrote on the fundraising page.
The library, the only one in Patmos, was at risk of closing due to a now-failed millage that was on the August primary ballot, resulting in the library losing 84% of its operating budget, about $245,000. According to the Detroit Free Press, the board has revised the millage for the midterm election in November, but if it doesn’t pass, the library is at grave risk of shutting down.
Already Dillman’s efforts have exceeded the goal of $245,000 (as of this report, just over $264,000 has been donated, including Roberts’ contribution).
"Libraries and librarians should be valued and celebrated, never attacked and demeaned," Roberts wrote on the GoFundMe page. "50K is the limit GoFundMe allows for donations. If you’re short of your goal, please contact me. I’ll make up the rest."
While public and school libraries across the country are being targeted by a book ban wave in which conservatives intend to try to wipe public spaces clean of any queer content, Roberts, at least, is vehemently on our side.
“I'll never understand why some choose to demean, even attack others over their sexual preferences, their gender identity,” Roberts told PrideSource. “And it is a choice to do so. Bigotry of any kind reveals a small, narrow mind and a closed heart.”
To donate to the Patmos Library, visit this GoFundMe page.