Town of Ridgeland leaders to grant funds to public library pending contract acceptance
RIDGELAND, Mississippi (WLBT) — Months after the mayor of Ridgeland withheld money from the Ridgeland Public Library due to complaints about LGBTQ+ books on the shelves, city leaders on Thursday approved a library contract and a memorandum of understanding.
The library can get the $110,000 in operating funds from the city if it accepts the contract by April 8.
The Mayor and the College of Aldermen met in executive session for about an hour and a half, making several revisions to the Memorandum of Understanding.
One of the revisions is the addition of language saying the city wants direct communication on issues like this.
Indeed, some aldermen felt that the library system spoke directly to the media instead of first sharing their concerns with city leaders, resulting in a breakdown in communication.
Ward 6 aldermen Wesley Hamlin said no one in Ridgeland had ever tried to ban books, but were just sensitive to the fact that they were the first thing people see when they walk in in the library.
“We believe that the library and the library system should be neutral and not get involved in politics or personal agendas or anything. Have all the books you want. It’s a place where you can come for knowledge or read any type of material, but avoid pushing agendas,” he said.
He added that the city never tries to control the library, but rather to respond to concerns raised by citizens since the council represents the ratepayers of Ridgeland.
No one with the library system was available for comment after the meeting ended.
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