The Houston Public Library’s Drag Queen Storytime, is a free, safe, family-oriented literacy program presented in response to requests from library users. The program instills a love of books and reading for children and their families through an imaginative storytelling experience. This program, like all Houston Public Library (HPL) programs is free, open to the public, and accessible by choice.
After learning that a participant in the program had a criminal background that should have prevented him from participating, the program was put on hiatus to take time to re-organize, improve upon policies and procedures, and explore other collaborative partnership opportunities for this program. While portions of this work is still underway, progress has been made in reviewing and improving upon policies and procedures for this program and programs throughout the library system as a whole, to ensure that the status of every participant is verified so that this oversight does not occur again.
It is important to reiterate that every program sponsored by HPL is supervised by library staff, and all children are accompanied by a parent and/or guardian. Further, no participant is ever alone with children, and HPL has not received any complaints about any inappropriate behavior by participants at any of its storytimes, including this program.
The Houston Public remains committed to celebrating the diverse and culturally rich communities here in Houston through its broad array of programs and resources and the Houston Public Library Foundation remains committed to supporting HPL in this endeavor.