UNITED STATES NEWS

Drag story hour at library canceled after suspicious package and threats, authorities say

Mar 23, 2024, 11:08 AM

LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) —

A scheduled “Drag Queen Story Hour” at a Pennsylvania library that had drawn opposition was canceled Saturday after a suspicious package was found in the building and two blocks were evacuated after threats were reported, authorities said.

Police evacuated the Lancaster Public Library after the package was found. A state police bomb squad later cleared the library, but police said “additional reported threats” were still being investigated. Residents of the block and another block nearby were advised to evacuate.

A city spokesperson later told LancasterOnline that a dog had alerted on the package and that the contents were later found to be “benign” but “subsequently, we received additional written threats via email.”

Lancaster Pride, a nonprofit that celebrates the town’s LGBTQ+ community, posted a notice on social media that the “Drag Story Hour with Miss Amie” had been canceled, saying “the safety and well-being of our community are of utmost importance to us.”

The planned story hour drew impassioned opposition from some residents during a marathon county commissioners meeting Wednesday, the second meeting in a row marked by resident protests after Republican commissioners denounced the event as inappropriate, LancasterOnline reported.

Commissioner Josh Parsons wrote that libraries “should be places for kids to safely read and learn, not politicized social laboratories for woke ideology.” Commissioner Ray D’Agostino said he thought there was a link between children being more “confused, anxious and stressed” than ever and people ”trying to push adult themed issues at such an early age.” Scores of people attended a prayer vigil in the plaza adjacent to the library Friday night opposing the event.

Lissa Holland, the library’s executive director, told LancasterOnline that she was “really sad, very disappointed and angry” about the cancellation.

“The library should be a place of safety. … And as I’ve told people numerous times this week, like every book in the library is not for every person, every program is maybe not for every person. But we don’t censor,” she said.

The listing for the “Drag Queen Story Hour” on the library’s events page called on attendees to “Join Miss Amie Vanité as she spreads awareness and acceptance by celebrating diversity, inclusiveness, kindness and love through LGBTQ+ literature for young readers.”

The Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition noted “backlash” in a Facebook post earlier this month and decried what it called “hateful comments about the LGBTQ+ community” from public officials.

“We want to be clear that drag story hours for children are NOT the same as adult drag performances,” the group said. The performer, the group said, “is a professional who has done other story hours for children. She dresses up in fun, whimsical costumes, sings age-appropriate songs, and reads age-appropriate books.”

Christopher Paolini, who was to read in drag as Miss Amie Vanité, said he had just arrived and was getting ready “when the alarms went off.” He called the turn of events “insane,” LancasterOnline reported.

“It just hurts my heart that it came to this,” he said. “I’m not going to stop what I’m doing. This program is too important for too many people.”

United States News

Associated Press

A police officer, sheriff’s deputy and suspect killed in a shootout in upstate New York, police say

LIVERPOOL, N.Y. (AP) — A police officer and a sheriff’s deputy in upstate New York were shot and killed Sunday night in an exchange of gunfire with a suspect, who also was killed, police said. The shooting took place shortly after 8 p.m. in Liverpool, about 6 miles (9.6 kilometers) north of Syracuse. The Syracuse […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Trump’s history-making hush money trial starts Monday with jury selection

NEW YORK (AP) — In a singular moment for American history, the hush money trial of former President Donald Trump begins Monday with jury selection. It’s the first criminal trial of a former commander in chief and the first of Trump’s four indictments to go to trial. Because Trump is the presumptive nominee for this […]

5 hours ago

Tracy Toulou...

Associated Press

How to tackle crime in Indian Country? Empower tribal justice, ex-Justice Department official says

A recently retired director of the Justice Dept. says the federal government hasn't given tribal justice systems equal recognition.

7 hours ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson...

Associated Press

House Speaker Mike Johnson says he will push for aid to Israel and Ukraine this week

House Speaker Mike Johnson said Sunday he will try to advance wartime aid for Israel this week, along with funding for Ukraine.

8 hours ago

Associated Press

Semiautomatic firearm ban passes Colorado’s House, heads to Senate

DENVER (AP) — Colorado’s Democratic-controlled House on Sunday passed a bill that would ban the sale and transfer of semiautomatic firearms, a major step for the legislation after roughly the same bill was swiftly killed by Democrats last year. The bill, which passed on a 35-27 vote, is now on its way to the Democratic-led […]

10 hours ago

Sponsored Content by

DENVER (AP) — Colorado’s Democratic-controlled House on Sunday passed a bill that would ban the sale and transfer of semiautomatic firearms, a major step for the legislation after roughly the same bill was swiftly killed by Democrats last year. The bill, which passed on a 35-27 vote, is now on its way to the Democratic-led […]

Sponsored Articles

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Drag story hour at library canceled after suspicious package and threats, authorities say