Drag and Storytime! Joyful inclusivity for Libraries and the Whole Family is a poster in the 2020 PNLA Virtual Poster Session. We encourage you to engage in discussion by leaving a comment on the page. The author of the poster will respond to comments the week of August 4-7, 2020.

Presenters: Amelia Jenkins & Miss Gigi Monroe

Track: Public Libraries

Abstract:
Drag Queen Storyhours are becoming popular around the country. What are these? Why are people doing them? And how do you host your own? A youth services worker at the Juneau Public Library and a world famous drag queen will share what they have done and answer your burning questions.

Poster:

About the Presenters:
Amelia Jenkins is a life-long Alaskan. She received her MLIS from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and has worked in academic, state, and Forest Service libraries before finding her home in youth services at the Juneau Public Libraries where she has worked with children of all ages for the past 20 years.

Gigi Monroe: Beginning in Atlanta, then from South Lake Tahoe to Los Angeles, Richmond, VA, and southern Oregon, and all over the country, now based in Juneau, Alaska, it’s been a long, strange, trip…. Gigi absolutely loves her job. It’s the best thing in the world to bring entertainment, joy, and a place to escape to so many people. Thank you to everyone who allows me to show you my heart for a living.

 

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David Luftig
6 days ago

This is fantastic! Being that you’ve done multiple events, has there been a change in the performers/presenters and/or the audience as time has gone by? Is the audience bigger or more engaging? Are the performers more comfortable as they may now know what to expect. Regardless, well done!

Amelia
Reply to  David Luftig
6 days ago

Thank you! We expected a small crowd for our first one since it seemed like a niche event. We had one performer and only did a read-aloud. We were overwhelmed in the best way! For the later programs we added more readers and activities. The dance party was a huge hit! And we added a simple craft for kids who need a quiet activity. Paper crowns make everyone a queen or king. Paper plates cut in half and glued to a Popsicle stick make cute rainbow fans.

David Luftig
Reply to  Amelia
6 days ago

That sounds like so much fun! I would of loved to attend. Well done all around!

Amelia
4 days ago

Stay tuned for our next event on Monday, August 24! Gigi, the library, and Perseverance Theater are partnering to bring you a live streaming Drag Storyhour.

Pam Henley
4 days ago

The craft idea is a great addition! And, making it an event for the whole family, including food. Thanks for sharing this and being part of the virtual conference poster session!

Amelia
Reply to  Pam Henley
4 days ago

Thanks Pam! Most kids ignore or breeze through the crafts, but there are a few who get overwhelmed by all the noise and color. We try to put the craft table in the darkest, quietest corner to give these kids a safe place to hang. And food is crucial for busy families. Just be sure there are lots of wipes and handwashing opportunities so fancy dresses don’t get greasy hugs 😉

Erin Hvizdak
4 days ago

Thanks, Amelia! This is such a great and important program and I’m so glad that the negative response was minimal. I’m wondering, what did you do to advertise and promote these events? Also, has this impacted your collection development at all, like have you tried to integrate more materials about diversity and inclusion? (I’m sure you already did this but I’m wondering how it might have impacted your thinking!)

Amelia
Reply to  Erin Hvizdak
4 days ago

Thanks Erin! We advertised in the usual ways with flyers, social media, and radio. Gigi also has networks and followers so there was some extra exposure there. It’s hard to say if our collection development has been impacted directly. It certainly hasn’t hurt, but the biggest factor has been the increase of high quality, joyful, attractive, child-friendly books on these themes. When we did our first DQST there were only a handful of appropriate books and many of those were too pedantic or dense for a storytime crowd. We’re so happy that’s starting to change.

Lynn
4 days ago

Thank you! I’ve been to one of our local Drag Queen Storytimes, and it was a joyful, positive event.

Amelia
Reply to  Lynn
4 days ago

Oh good! Did you bring kids or attend on your own? I was blown away by how many teens and adults came without small kids and had a great time. We’ve never had so much multi-age response from a kid-targeted program.