About a year ago, some of Igarashi-Ball’s librarian friends began telling him they wanted to host a drag queen storytime in Georgia, but lamented that “they didn’t think that their library system was progressive enough to host such an event,” he said.
Meanwhile, AFPLS staff members had also caught wind of the phenomenon. Inspired by its message of inclusiveness, Marketing and PR Manager Claudia Strange sent out a call out for interest to the branches. The Ponce de Leon branch was the first to respond.
“Ponce was willing to take the chance on this new idea,” Strange said, adding that it seemed like the best fit for the first occasion. “A similar event was held over at Ponce City Market and the interest on Facebook alone was off the charts.”
Strange was referring to a drag queen storytime event at Posman Books with Edie Cheezburger in mid-July. A couple of months before that, Avid Bookshop in Athens hosted a Drag Queen Story Time Extravaganza.
The Georgia events follow the success of the New York- and California-based Drag Queen Story Hour, created by writer Michelle Tea and Radar Productions in December 2015.
Realizing there’s “clearly an audience for the concept,” Strange said she began searching for a drag performer “willing to use G-rated language for a storytime with children.” She was connected with Igarashi-Ball, whose first job was as a bookshelver at the Buford-Sugar Hill branch of the Gwinnett County Library, and “everything else just fell into place.”
To hear him tell it, “the stars aligned.”
AFPLS's Facebook event has received an unprecedented response compared to its other storytime announcements.
“We expected a few negative remarks, but so far we’ve only received one not so positive response,” Strange said.
The event will be held Sept. 30th at 3 p.m. at 980 Ponce de Leon Avenue NE. Miss Terra Cotta will read books including Todd Parr's “Be Who You Are” and Leo Lionni's “A Color of His Own.” Afterwards, children can make Wonder Woman-style superhero masks and fancy dress bookmarks.
Ponce De Leon Branch Youth Services Librarian Haley Sheehy is the event coordinator, with help from Strange and Branch Manager Anne Vagts.
In other news:
The rainbow flag was created by Gilbert Baker, a Vietnam veteran and drag queen in San Francisco Baker was encouraged by Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay elected officials in the country Working with a group at the Gay Community Center, they dyed the fabric and sewed the flag The first rainbow flags were raised on June 25, 1978, in the United Nations Plaza in San Francisco The original flag had eight colors Hot pink for sexuality Red for life Orange for healing Yellow for sun Green for nature Turq