A recent story hour event in Washington, D.C., for kids hosted by a slate of anti-LGBTQ+ right-wing influencers and media personalities received a lot of attention, not for attendance, but for the strong showing of support for the LGBTQ+ community that library officials displayed to counterbalance the event that featured noted transphobe Chaya Raichik, who runs the hate account Libs of TikTok on Twitter.
On the morning of March 29, conservative manuscript publisher BRAVE Books hosted Brave Story Hour at the Cleveland Park Library in Washington, D.C. Featured authors were far-right conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec, former Trump White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, teen actor turned proselytizing one-person act Kirk Cameron, and Raichik.
However, the conservative influencers were met with a display of inclusivity.
Throughout the library, Pride flags, rainbows, and a sign reading “Cleveland Park Library celebrates ALL sexual orientations” were displayed. Trans flags were hung inside and outside the library.
Many of BRAVE’s authors are conservative influencers who work with a writing and illustration team to tailor the story to their favorite reactionary issue, the Daily Dot reports.
In most of these books, the action occurs on Freedom Island, an alternative reality wholly made up but popular with conservatives.
Despite being scheduled for 10:30 a.m., the story hour started 30 minutes late. A delay was attributed to “a lot of people looking for parking”; however, only about 20 children and 25 adults (most without kids) attended Brave Story Hour.
Raichik complained to her 2 million followers about the scene she encountered upon entering the space.
“This is what greeted us in Cleveland Park Library for our book reading,” Raichik wrote alongside photos of colorful displays of books.
“Pride display right at the entrance of Cleveland Park Library, where we had a book reading. Books include topics about kids transitioning and exploring their gender We asked them when they put it up. ‘Yesterday’ they answered They’re after our kids and they’re not even hiding it,” she wrote.
George Williams, the spokesperson for D.C.’s libraries, tells The Advocate that the event was not library-sponsored. Rather, the space was granted per a public meeting room request.
The library lets residents use meeting rooms for up to three hours free of charge, provided they are open to the public and free of charge. He says it is not the library’s policy to exclude groups from its public meeting rooms based on the subject matter of their discussions or the ideas they advocate.
He notes that the library’s feedback on Twitter, by email, and by phone indicates that there was a perception by some tha the library endorses the views of the groups that used the Cleveland Park Library’s public meeting room.
“The Library created the displays to correct that misinterpretation of its of its core value of welcoming everyone,” Williams says.
“Materials available in the library present a diversity of viewpoints, allowing people of all ages access to the information needed to make informed decisions, be entertained, support new interests or any other myriad of needs,” he adds.
Various programs and services are offered at the D.C. Public Library to engage the community in informational, cultural, and educational forums and opportunities that transform perspectives and foster lifelong learning.