RIDGELAND, Miss. (WJTV) – Ridgeland Mayor Gene McGee said he’s withholding $110,000 in funding from the city’s public library after citizens complained of “sexual content” being on display.

“The books themselves are more of a sexual nature, and it’s just something that when you go to a public library, and you walk in and that kind of material is there. It’s just something that in my opinion doesn’t need to be out front and center,” said Alderman Wesley Hamlin.

McGee said the books in question highlight the LGBTQ community, which he believes are inappropriate for children.

I have had many complaints from citizens about the display of certain books at the Library. In my capacity as mayor, I simply believe the books are inappropriate for children. There is a minimum, sexual connotations are not appropriate for children when they enter the library.

Mayor Gene McGee, City of Ridgeland

A librarian said no formal complaints were filed regarding the books. They were put out in September 2021 as part of the ‘new books’ display. Officials at the library said they rotate the books in the display every three months.

“Representation gives kids power. You know, it’s powerful to see an image in a book that may look like you. Maybe you are adopted by a same-sex couple; there’s a book about that, and so you know, not only is representation important, but books also teach. So, I think it teaches empathy. I think it teaches kids how to connect with another child, and it teaches kids that who they are as okay,” said Jason McCarty, executive director of Capital City Pride.

The Madison County Library Systems (MCLS) released a statement on their website.

The public library is the institution in our society that attempts to provide a diversity of viewpoints on a wide range of topics of interest, including political, social, and religious ones—no matter how controversial or objectionable those ideas may be to some people.

Madison County Library Systems

Leaders with the library system said if funding is dropped, programs would have to be cut in order to makeup the financial deficit.

A public hearing request has been filed by the MCLS for the next Board of Aldermen’s meeting to discuss funding for the library. As of Thursday, January 27, they are still waiting for an answer to the request.