© 2024 KUNR
Illustration of rolling hills with occasional trees and a radio tower.
Serving Northern Nevada and the Eastern Sierra
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Drag Story Hour sees capacity crowd at Downtown Reno Library

 A person in a rose pink dress holds a picture book and reads to a crowd of young children and their parents.
Jamie Hemingway
Washoe County Library System
Miss Ginger Devine reads to the crowd at Drag Story Hour at the Downtown Reno Library on Thursday, June 15, 2023, in Reno, Nev.

More than a hundred kids and parents attended the June 15 Drag Story Hour at the Downtown Reno Library.

Washoe County Library System Director Jeff Scott was happy to see such a high attendance for story hour.

“This has been really successful today. We had capacity crowds, which was way higher than last year, I think,” he said. “Our auditorium capacity is 104, and so we thought we would give out bracelets up to 75 and then hold some in reserve. And, if it went over, we could kind of go over. So, we went over, and we actually had to turn kids away.”

But the children who were turned away didn’t have to go without a story hour thanks to a new partnership with local LGBTQ community hub Our Center. Our Center programming and operations manager Stacey Spain led an impromptu reading outside.

The Our Center partnership isn’t the only new part of Drag Story Hour in Washoe County libraries this summer. The library system has also added a new crafting portion after the story time. It is also expanding this event to a third library. North Valleys Library will host a story hour on June 17 and there’ll be one at the Sparks Library on July 15.

Library officials and parents said that events like this one are integral to getting kids interested in books from a young age and laying the foundation so they can begin learning how to read.

Miss Ginger Devine, the drag persona of Christopher Daniels, read three picture books to the crowd. As a drag queen, he tries to entertain the crowd and keep them engaged with the book — nothing more than that. He said that teaching kids about acceptance is a goal of the events.

“To be able to come here in community with other parents and other children and experience this joyous celebration is important,” Daniels said. “And, really, at the end of the day, this is about reading. Like the whole point of story hour is that these kids will be captivated by stories.”

Not everyone agreed that Drag Story Hour should go on, though. A group of residents, including Washoe Republican Party Chairman Bruce Parks, who said he was present as a “Washoe County taxpayer,” showed up to observe the event and film parts of the proceedings. They were not given access to the reading itself.

Parks and others have recently given public comments in opposition to the story hours during meetings of the Washoe County Board of Commissioners and Library Board of Trustees. They oppose having the events in public libraries and have even called the events a form of “child abuse” and “sexualization.”

However, those observers were outnumbered by volunteers who twirled rainbow umbrellas and escorted kids and parents into the library for story hour.

Jose Davila IV is a corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project.

Jose Davila IV is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
Related Content