Last year, Clark County Libraries hosted Drag Queen Story Hour during special programming for Family Pride Day. The event, which featured two performers in drag reading books to a group of young kids and their parents, was covered in local news but ultimately went off without a hitch.
But when Washoe County librarians announced they would host their own version of Drag Queen Story Hour on July 20, they were met with protest and an online campaign to get the event canceled.
The story hour, which began in San Francisco in 2015, have been popular across the US and organizers say they're part of a public library's commitment to inclusivity. But some libraries that wanted to host Drag Queen Story Hour had to cancel their plans after organizers received threats.
Jeff Scott, director of the Washoe County Library System, said libraries work to reflect and be a bridge to the broader community.
“The library staff are really engaged in the community here, so when they suggested doing a Drag Queen Story Hour, it was from people already in the community who’ve already been doing the Drag Queen Story Hour” at private venues.
The event is drawing opposition from some who say it's a poor fit for a public library.
“Our libraries are for the whole community and should not be used for an ideological push,” said Karen England of the conservative activist group Nevada Family Alliance. “People are opposed to tax-funded organizations doing Drag Queen Story Hour. They are adult entertainers; we don’t have other adult entertainers doing story hour.”
(Editor's note: This story originally aired in June 2019)
Jeff Scott, director, Washoe County Library System; Karen England, organizer, Nevada Family Alliance
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