A Rainbow of Creativity: Exploring Drag Queen Storytimes and Gender Creative Programming in Public Libraries

Jamie Campbell Naidoo


Recently, there has been an increase in public libraries initiating targeted and inclusive programming for rainbow families (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or queer [LGBTQ+] caregivers with children or families with LGBTQ+ children). Specialized training programs have been offered to children’s librarians on how to create inclusive services and collections for rainbow families.1 As a result, many libraries in the United States and Canada have designed children’s library programs with LGBTQ+ themes and content, included among these is the drag queen storytime (DQS). A DQS generally includes a drag queen performer reading children’s books and sharing songs much like a traditional storytime program. Many of these programs often focus on creativity in general, as well as gender creativity, or include LGBTQ+ children’s literature as a way to normalize the experiences of rainbow families. Some public libraries market DQS programs for rainbow families while others promote these programs as an example of general inclusive programming for all families. DQS programs can be successful when used with all kinds of families, and many rainbow families appreciate a librarian’s meaningful gestures towards inclusivity.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5860/cal.16.4.12


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