The Mayor of a Mississippi city is accused of withholding $110,000 from a public library because they carry LGBTQ+ books, according to the Executive Director for the Madison County Library System.
Ridgeland Mayor Gene McGee reportedly said that he had received complaints from citizens about three children’s books and one adult book at the Ridgeland Public Library, according to NBC affiliate WLBT of Jackson.
The books either had titles referencing the LGBTQ+ community or depicted them in the book, executive director Tonya Johnson said, according to the news station.
NBC News could not immediately reach McGee for comment on Friday, but the mayor told WLBT that his decision in withholding the funds was because of complaints he received from Ridgeland residents. He did not say if the complaints were about LGBTQ+ books.
Madison County Library System, which oversees the library, released a statement on its website saying 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.”
“Madison County Library System has earned a strong reputation for award-winning, best in the state library service because of the outstanding services, programming, and collection of library materials it provides for all the residents of Madison County,” the library system said. “As such, we remain committed to excellence in all aspects of public service, which means that everyone can depend on us for their informational needs. All members of our community are represented and welcome in our libraries.”
The library system went on to say that the library’s collection of books “is for people of all ages, races, gender identities/expressions, and orientations.”
“Our books are not only a mirror to reflect our community but a window into different worlds and different experiences 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,” the statement said.