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Group raises nearly $100,000 for the Ridgeland Public Library

Board of Aldermen yet to make decision on library funding
Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 10:06 PM CST
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RIDGELAND, Miss. (WLBT) - It’s been over a week since Ridgeland Mayor Gene McGee claimed that he would withhold $110,000 from it’s public library due to citizens complaining about LGBTQ+ books being available and displayed.

Now, Friends of the Ridgeland Library is taking matters into its own hands and has raised 90% of what the city owes.

“I’ve just been amazed at the generosity from people literally all over the country, a former governor of the state of Mississippi, people from other countries, including England and Australia,” said Jane Bond.

The treasurer with Friends of the Ridgeland Library says it has seen overwhelming support for the library, but believes the city still needs to make things right.

“We have to have it,” Bond continued. “We have staff that could end up being laid off, or dismissed, because we’re not getting that money.”

The 2009 Library Service Contract between the City of Ridgeland and the Madison County Library system says it’s valid up until a new contract is proposed and quote, “the governing authorities shall transmit one-sixth of the library system’s annual appropriations on at least a bi-monthly basis.”

However, according to a city attorney, state law says the board back in 2009 could not bind a contract to the current board in 2022. Which means, the mayor does not have a deadline to give the money.

But Bond says the mayor and board of alderman still shouldn’t withhold funds based on book content.

“This contract doesn’t sensor. And the library has a procedure, where if someone objects to a book, they fill out a piece of paperwork. I’m sure that any of the head librarians in Madison County can tell you that. And it will be looked at by committee.”

And Bond adds the money isn’t just coming from people who support LGBTQ+ content - it’s also coming from those who don’t believe in suppressing ideas.

“I’m really pleased with the number of people that don’t believe in censorship.”

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