Friends of Mississippi library raise nearly $100,000 after report of mayor withholding funds over LGBTQ+ books

Published 6:36 am Thursday, February 10, 2022

A Mississippi library’s face-off with a mayor’s effort to withhold $110,000 over his complaints about LGBTQ+ material being offered at the library has spurred thousands of dollars in donations from across the globe.

The Friends of the Ridgeland Library say they have raised 90% of what the city owes thanks to the overwhelming support of people from Mississippi, the rest of the country, England, Australia and beyond.

Despite the donations, the treasurer of the group said the city still owes the money to the library.

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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.

McGee is demanding that the library system initiate a purge of LGBTQ+ before his office issues the money.

When Tonja Johnson, executive director for the Madison County Library System, contacted McGee after not receiving the City of Ridgeland’s first quarterly payment of 2022, the mayor reportedly told her that no payment was coming based on his opposition to what he called ‘homosexual materials’ that were on the library’s shelves.

In an interview with the Mississippi Free Press, Johnson said she explained to the mayor that the library system, as a public entity, was not a religious institution and that the items on the shelves reflect the diversity of our community.

The mayor reportedly told Johnson that the library can serve whoever they want, but that he only serves the Lord.