GRAND RAPIDS, MI — The ongoing debate over books with certain themes and passages on public library shelves is more than just a Jamestown Township issue.
While the Patmos Library’s “defunding” of LGBTQ books in Ottawa County’s growing community has certainly made national headlines, the larger topic of the request to remove specific books from the library’s shelves is popping up in western Michigan and beyond.
That’s what MLive/The Grand Rapids Press reporter Michael Kransz discovered when he dug into the issue for articles published this week.
Here are those titles and others you may have missed this week:
Book challenges rise as public libraries become latest political battleground
Public libraries have become the latest political battleground, where constitutional freedoms to read books with a wide range of themes and passages – even those with which some people disagree – come up against parental concern. to keep certain subjects away from children.
Those who challenge the content object to a range of themes — overtly sexual passages, LGBTQ relationships or racial justice — by wanting certain library books removed.
The push to remove these books from the shelves is sometimes accompanied by never-before-seen “extremist rhetoric”, such as labeling library workers as “healers” and paedophiles. Local and national library leaders are calling the push an act of censorship.
See the official challenges launched to remove 13 books from the shelves of the Kent County Library
So far this year, the Kent District Library has seen more than triple the number of official requests to remove books from shelves compared to last year.
From a girl with two fathers to a woman having sex with a donkey, the formal book’s 13 challenges oppose a variety of content, but can largely be categorized as opposition to overtly sexual passages, relationships LGBTQ or racial justice.
The library system, which oversees 21 branches in the Grand Rapids area, filed just four formal book complaints in 2021 and about two to three each year before that. Grand Rapids has its own network of public libraries.
Rescue mission plans ‘tiny house’ community in Grand Rapids
As Mel Trotter Ministries strives to reduce homelessness, the Christian Rescue Mission is considering a new strategy: Tiny Houses.
The organization this week received approval from the City of Grand Rapids Commission to begin work on Hope Village, a mixed-use development that would include the construction of 16 small homes. Located near the corner of Garden Street SE and Division Avenue, the homes would each be between 240 and 480 square feet.
Using tiny houses to address homelessness is an idea that churches and missions across the country have adopted or considered as they seek to help vulnerable residents transition into permanent housing, news reports show.
View Fall 2022 Student Counts for Grand Rapids Area Schools
Several school districts in the Grand Rapids area recorded preliminary enrollment gains in their first count of students on count day, Wednesday, Oct. 5.
Count day is when all public schools in Michigan are required by the state to tally the number of students attending their schools. The information is critical for districts because every student translates into state funding.
New futsal courts in downtown Grand Rapids set for grand opening
Those who love to play or want to learn how to play futsal will now have a new place to play the game in downtown Grand Rapids.
The inauguration of the futsal courts, built on a former parking lot, is scheduled for Saturday.
Las Canchas de Futbol Communitarias (the Community Futsal Courts), built by Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI), will be designed for futsal, a game similar to soccer that is usually played on a hard surface with five players on each team.
Grand Rapids Wedding Venue Owners Who Say They Won’t Host LGBTQ Wedding Events Get Civil Violation
Grand Rapids issued a civil offense against a new wedding venue in the city whose owners said they would not hold wedding ceremonies for same-sex or transgender couples.
In filing the civil offense, city officials said in a prepared statement that the venue violated the city’s human rights ordinance.
The venue’s attorney, Broadway Avenue, called the move a violation of his clients’ religious freedoms protected by the First Amendment. They plan to fight the infringement and, if necessary, take the case all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court, attorney David Kallman told MLive/The Grand Rapids Press.
Listen to a West Michigan couple’s 911 call after an 84-year-old pro-life canvasser was shot dead in their yard
A County Ionia woman whose husband shot an 84-year-old pro-life canvasser called 911 as the injured canvasser was driving from their property.
Sharon Harvey made the call around 1.30pm on September 20 from her home in the Lake Odessa region.
The solicitor, Joan Jacobson, was shot in the shoulder and was not seriously injured.
And for more information on the Grand Rapids area, go here.