July 26, 2019 By Christian Murray
Two elected officials hosted a special Drag Queen Story Hour at the Jackson Heights library Thursday to celebrate the record funding increase for public libraries and the new funds allocated for story hour.
Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer and Daniel Dromm joined New York City-based drag queen Angel Elektra at the 35-51 81st Street library to highlight the City’s 2020 budget that includes nearly $564 million for public libraries, including a $25,000 allocation for Drag Queen Story Hour. Van Bramer and Dromm allocated $5,000 each for story hours in their respective districts.
Drag Queen Story Hour is targeted for children between ages 3 and 8. The program involves a drag queen trained by children’s librarians who reads picture books, sings songs, and leads children in craft activity. The program began in San Francisco in 2015 and spread to New York City in 2016.
“The Queens Public Library is a vital democratic institution where everyone is welcome to learn and explore,” Van Bramer, chair of the Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committee, said in a statement. “The funding we secured in this year’s budget will keep our public libraries’ doors open and enable them to expand their diverse programming to reach even more people.”
Van Bramer added, “I am especially proud to support Drag Queens Story Hour, a wonderfully imaginative and inclusive program for kids that encourages acceptance and a love of reading. Drag Queen Story Hour provides all kids with a space to be themselves and to see queer role models—something I desperately needed as a kid.”
Van Bramer and Dromm are both openly gay.
“Libraries are a vital part of every New York City neighborhood,” Dromm said. “I am particularly glad that Drag Queen Story Hour has found a home at city libraries, including the Queens Public Library. Drag Queen Story Hour is a fun and fabulous way of encouraging children to read. The flamboyancy and theatrics of Drag Queen Story Hour truly captures children’s attention and helps facilitate learning.”
The funding will help expand the program, including its bilingual drag queen story hour and those for children with autism and special needs.
“We’re excited to be able to bring more Drag Queens Story Hour programming to Queens Public Library branches this year,” said Rachel Aimee, executive director of the NYC Chapter of Drag Queen Story Hour.