Libraries from Oshawa to Uxbridge throw support behind Drag Queen Storytime program

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Published June 13, 2022 at 10:49 am

Lucy Flawless and Violet Seductions

No matter how far we’ve come in respecting diversity and inclusion there’s always a reminder of how far we’ve yet to go.

It was a “mentally ill” comment on social media about the Drag Queen Storytime series held each year during Pride Week at Durham Region’s public libraries that sparked a letter from Youth Pride Durham, followed by a letter in support of the popular program from the Children’s Aid Society of Durham Region.

That, in turn prompted the libraries – in a joint statement from all eight libraries – to write a letter of their own, with near universal support on Facebook from their followers.

The most common question was why, in this day and age, was there a need for the letter at all?

Drag Queen Storytime offers free, family friendly storytime programming throughout the month of June at libraries throughout Durham in celebration of diversity and inclusion. The program has been done for the past four years, in partnership with Children’s Aid and Youth Pride Durham and has always been well attended by children and their caregivers.

“We recognize that Durham Region is home to a variety of individuals and families, each with unique perspectives, experiences, and values. We deliver a range of programs and services that reflect and celebrate all members of our communities while acknowledging that not every book on our shelf or program we offer will be a good fit for every resident. These programs are selected based on our knowledge of our community and residents decide whether a program is a good fit for them and their family.”

“A large number of families in our community feel that Drag Queen Storytime speaks to their values. They express this through their continued attendance at the program every year and in their messages to us afterward. We hear often that the program offers a meaningful experience and a safe space for children and parents to talk about inclusion.”

“Public libraries have always championed the values underpinning a democratic society including free, open, and equitable access to a diversity of information and ideas, civic engagement, intellectual freedom, and freedom of speech. The public library remains an institution that helps build understanding for one another by being a welcoming and inclusive public space for all.”

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