At their annual LibLearnX conference later this month, the American Library Association will host workshops promoting drag queen story hour and other LGBT programs.

The ALA is a national organization claiming to provide “leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services.” The group has come under fire recently for defending school libraries that keep sexually explicit books on their shelves.

The organization’s upcoming conference, LibLearnX: The Library Learning Experience, offers workshops for library employees at all levels, including school librarians. The ALA will hold this year’s conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 27-30.

One session entitled “Rainbow Family Storytime: Yes, even in the South!” encourages library employees to organize drag queen story hour events for children even if local citizens disapprove.

“LGBTQIA+ -positive library children’s programs play a vital role in making communities safe and affirming for everyone,” read the session’s description. “However, hosting said programming – especially story times that feature Drag Queens/Kings – can be difficult to implement because of the nature of bigotry LGBTQIA+ community members continue to face.”

Another session instructs librarians on implementing “Affirming Library Practices for LGBTQIA+ Kids in School Libraries.” The workshop promises to inform them about radical gender ideology terms and the legality of organizing LGBT programs at public libraries:

Our session provides legal knowledge supporting affirming practices and strengthening advocacy, skills to create a supportive LGBTQIA+ culture in and beyond your library, and the terminology that creates safety and a sense of belonging.

The session, organized by Dallas Independent School District’s LGBTQ+ Coordinator Mahoganie Gaston, promotes LGBT library events as life-saving programs; however, some have drawn attention to the unreliable data LGBT groups use to advance this claim.

“We will share the proper terminology of the LGBTQIA+ community as well as statements and verbiage that is micro-aggressive; data on how and why LGBTQIA+ affirming libraries and school cultures save students’ lives; and practical tips for all levels of school libraries on how to create and/or extend affirming spaces and school culture for LGBTQIA+ students.”

LibLearnX will also host critical race theory proponents Ibram X. Kendi and Nic Stone, the authors of “How to Be a (Young) Antiracist.” The two will open the conference with a talk explaining how their book encourages teenagers to “build a more equitable world.” The work is a “reimagining” of Kendi’s “How to Be an Antiracist,” which teaches that people are either inherently oppressed or privileged based on the color of their skin.

With Texas’ 88th Legislative Session already underway, several lawmakers have filed measures calling for restricting children’s access to explicit materials in public schools.

Citizens can use Texas Scorecard’s Elected Officials Directory to contact their lawmakers.

Katy Marshall

Katy graduated from Tarleton State University in 2021 after majoring in history and minoring in political science.