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Controversy in NV over Drag Queen Story Hour didn't phase its success

Controversy in Reno over Drag Storytime didn't phase its success.
Photo credit:
therenogaypage.com

In light of some controversial criticisms and threats of protest, Drag Queen Story Hour went on with a minimum of conflict at the Sparks library branch near Reno Nevada. 

The event took place on July 20 despite a chiding remark from Sparks' Mayor Ron Smith, who said prior,  "It doesn't make any sense to me," adding, "It is absolutely ridiculous. Why would you have transgender people talking to kids?"

Library officials were not conservative in their initial estimates of people who they thought would attend after the mayor's remarks. According to The Reno Gay Page, Washoe County Director of Libraries Jeff Scott originally reported 600, but that number grew to officially become 826. 

Painted storytellers were regional drag favorites, Aspen Meadows and Ginger Devine. They read four books to the kids who were engrossed in each.

This event has been over a year in the planning by the Library Youth Service and Special Events staff. They had to work through vocal detractors including Mayor Smith, but in the end, the event turned out to be an overwhelming success. 

Connie Dickman, Sparks Library Branch Manager was asked if there had ever been a more successful event at the branch. “No, I don’t believe we have ever had this big of a turnout.”

People had formed a queue inside the small building which trailed outside. The library can only accommodate 108 for safety purposes so staff had to rotate both kids and parents in and out of the venue. Some had to be turned away because the facility just couldn't handle the volume of interested spectators. 

Grateful parents were heard saying things such as, “Thank you so much for doing this event,” and “When are you doing this again?” 

Local politicians including State Senator Julia Ratti (D-Sparks) and Reno City Councilman Devon Reese (at-large) joined the crowd in support of the function and Nevada news affiliates were live on the scene, but were prohibited from entering until after it was over.

The family values advocacy group Nevada Family Alliance waited in the library but were not allowed in the storytelling room. 

A member of the hate group Nevada Salt and Light Brigade appeared and became vocal but was eventually drowned out by the bullhorn of a supporter. 

Beate Weinhert, Director of Youth Programs and Special Events was ecstatic at the success of the day,  "This is really great!” she said. “What a great day for the storytime.” 

In San Diego, organizers have been trying to startDrag Queen Story Hour of their own at local public libraries. 

This past February local drag celebrity Glitz Glam posted a call to action on Facebook to bring a drag story hour to Mission Hills and it got a positive response.

Leah Shuchter, the President of Mission Hills Town Council, is hoping to bring such an event to San Diego libraries, especially the new one on Washington Street.