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Michigan House Republicans vote against resolution to support librarians


For state lawmakers, resolutions are often boilerplate measures that are easy to approve, but a recent resolution to support library workers split the state house down party lines.

Sponsored by Rep. Veronica Paiz (D-Oakland County), the resolution, HR 81 designated Tuesday, April 25 as “Library Worker Day” in Michigan. It was part of National Library week. The measure said library workers provide materials for communities “in the face of opposition or controversy” and for all members of the community regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, among other things.

Republicans opposing the resolution may be responding to a culture war issue, said Kyla Stepp, political science professor at Central Michigan University.

“To me it seems like they’re scrambling a bit to really find some steady ground before the election. Maybe this is a way of kind of testing things out, maybe it’s a sign of things to come," she said.

However, the possible stance could backfire for Republicans. Stepp said it has the potential to alienate Republican voters.

"Especially in some of those localized instances we are seeing pushbacks when it involves their library and their librarians," she said. "I think that voting no on this resolution is a little safer just because it’s a very ambiguous, 'support your libraries!' It’s not about anyone’s local library, or local librarians."

In a written statement, a spokesperson for House Republicans said the resolution was made political by Democrats needlessly referencing the debate about keeping inappropriate content from children.

Rep. Paiz, the sponsor, responded to the vote on Twitter.

"If you have any doubts about what Republicans really think about librarians and library workers, rest assured that Michigan House Republicans believe they aren’t worthy of appreciation," she said.

Ben Jodway is an intern, serving as a reporter for WCMU Public Media and the Pioneer in Big Rapids. He has covered Indigenous communities and political extremism in Michigan.