Bradford residents are being encouraged to get ready to embrace inclusivity, creativity and a love of reading.
The Devereaux Dolls E’Claire and Carmen are bringing the flair to the next Drag Queen Storytime at the Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library, on Saturday June 10, with two sessions at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
The event, officials say, is set to feature both storytelling and crafts with a focus on family inclusion and acceptance of everyone’s unique identities.
“The library really has an emphasis on providing programming and access to resources that reflects everyone’s needs within the community, regardless of heritage, education, beliefs, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. We are a safe and inclusive place for everyone,” said Library CEO Matthew Corbett.
He said the library provides information and brings the community together through these types of events which reach out to community members who may have a different type of family, and who may experience things a little differently than the traditional family model.
Corbett expects the latest Drag Queen Storytime event will continue the trend of popularity seen since the library first began hosting them in 2018.
“For this event, we anticipated that it was going to be extremely successful much like the rest of them have been,” he said. “They’re extremely popular with the community.”
The library expects to see anywhere from 150 to 400 people in attendance, and while there is no registration or admission fee, spots are on a first-come-first-served basis.
“We’re definitely encouraging people to show up early; otherwise you may not get a spot,” Corbett said.
While other Drag Queen Storytime events in Orillia, Midland and Springwater have been met with vocal opposition, harassment and threats to library staff, the staff at the Bradford library say they haven’t had those problems.
“My message has always been: Come out and see the event before you make a criticism of it. And after you’ve seen the event, come and talk to me and have a conversation if you still have a concerns,” Corbett said.
Corbett also emphasized that attendance is completely optional.
“The reality is, it’s an inclusive event, you don’t have to show up to it. It’s there for anyone who wishes to attend, but no one is being force into attending the program,” he said.
While the library supplied a list of recommended books, the performers have yet to reveal the final selections, adding an element of anticipation and surprise for those able to find a spot at either of the two sessions.
Those looking for recommendations for child-friendly inclusive reading material could try some of the titles on the library’s Pride Month for Kids June 2023 book list including:
- Camp QUILTBAG by Nicole Melleby
- The Sister Split by Auriane Desombre
- Princess Pru and the Ogre on the Hill by Maureen Fergus
- Rainbow Hands by Mamta Nainy
- I Am a Rainbow! by Mark Kanemura
- Ring of Solomon by Aden Polydoros
- My Mommies Built a Treehouse by Gareth Peter
- The House That Whispers by Lin Thompson
- Juniper Harvey and the Vanishing Kingdom by Nina Varela
- Jude Saves the World by Ronnie Riley
- and more
For more information about the Drag Queen Storytime event, visit the library’s website at https://bradford.library.on.ca.