Local drag artists read and sing to children during “Reading Time with the Queens” at Marshall Public Library. | Courtesy KPVI
POCATELLO (KPVI) — An event being held at a local library is facing some backlash.
“Reading Time with the Queens” is a children’s program hosted by drag artists at Marshall Public Library in Pocatello. It includes singing, reading and more.
The group has hosted these programs at the library for about a year, and the library is getting a lot of Facebook messages and phone calls about it. Complaints range from misconceptions that tax dollars go toward the event to worries that the programs are obscene. Library director Eric Suess says they even got a complaint from a member of a hate group in Kentucky.
Library officials say they are not affiliated with this group, and therefore it uses no tax dollars. The library is required by law to allow any community group to use their meeting rooms, as long as they follow library guidelines.
“We represent all the viewpoints and all the interests of the community, and sometimes these interests don’t match across the whole community,” says Suess. “We’re a city that allows a variety of content and a variety of viewpoints. If we had a gun-rights group that wanted to use it, that’d be fine. If we had a gun control group that wanted to use it, that’d be fine. We make no decision based on viewpoint.”
In addition to getting complaints, Suess says they’ve also gotten support from people who appreciate the library’s support of free speech rights.
Cali Je, who runs “Reading Time with the Queens,” posted a statement to Facebook saying, in part:
“Our mission is to have drag performers read stories that will teach us how to accept and love ourselves and others….Marshall Public Library, though full of very nice people, do not support the program financially. All they do is provide the Community Room for our use.”
The next “Reading Time with the Queens” event will be Saturday, February 15. It will begin at 11:30 a.m. in the library’s community room.