Queer Reflections: New Views from Library Drag Storytimes

MONTAGUE, Rae-Anne and LATHAM, Joyce (2019) Queer Reflections: New Views from Library Drag Storytimes. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2019 - Athens, Greece - Libraries: dialogue for change in Session 191 - LGBTQ Users.

Bookmark or cite this item: https://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/2585
Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.


Queer Reflections: New Views from Library Drag Storytimes

In 1990, Rudine Sims Bishop authored a seminal article, Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors, describing the power of children’s multicultural literature. Sims Bishop noted that, as literature enthusiasts, we believe that potential connections between children and books can be life changing. In order for connections to happen, there have to be many kinds of stories with many kinds of characters to reflect the lived experience, understanding, and interests of readers. This paper seeks to extend on Sims Bishop’s conceptualization and considers how the analogy of mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors applies to other aspects of library practice - in terms of library programs, particularly drag queen storytimes. It explores how queens at the library are contributing to community views. According to the American Library Association’s (ALA) Open to All: Serving the GLBT Community in Your Library (2016), “providing GLBT-friendly programming helps your community know that you are welcoming and accepting.” That said, this informative publication makes no mention of drag queens at the library. While drag has been around for centuries as part of theatre culture and in queer, underground, and/or experimental spaces, it has only come into the mainstream in recent decades with the emergence and immense success of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Here, we posit that libraries, as spaces that reflect cultural realities, have begun to echo this increasingly popular pastime. This paper offers a review of emergent issues around DQS in libraries and the broader communities in which they are embedded. It is based on content analysis of data drawn from recent articles and reports featuring descriptions of activities and librarian experiences. It includes discussions of twenty programs in the USA and beyond and identifies five key themes around DQS: creativity, diversity, delight, freedom, and pride - as well as future considerations.

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