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Huntington Woods, MI public email on upcoming "Drag Queen Story Hour"

Sent to community on January 24, 2019

Drag Queen Storytime: What to Expect

On Saturday, January 26th, the Huntington Woods Library is presenting Drag Queen Storytime, an ongoing children's reading program at the library since December 2017. We are aware of two outside groups that do not support the program whose members may arrive at the event to share their point of view.

This message is intended to address concerns and questions that may arise about the event.

Drag Queen Storytime is an event that happens in libraries across the country, and one of many kinds of literacy-promoting events for children at our library. In addition to promoting reading and literacy, libraries are instrumental in creating a more equitable and inclusive society and Drag Queen Storytime is an opportunity to further that pursuit.

Some residents may not support this program, and everyone is entitled to their opinion. Many residents support this program. Regardless, participation is voluntary.

Because of the popularity of past events, the Library plans to continue this program indefinitely. The City believes decisions about programming are best made at the local level. The Huntington Woods City Commission is unanimously supportive of the program.

Because the City has no intention of discontinuing the program, residents who support the program don't need to attend the January 26th event to express their support in person. Contacting the City Commission is an effective way to be heard or residents can join the Friends of the Library to support Library programming.

The City is taking measures to ensure everyone's safety at this and all events. The Public Safety Department is coordinating with neighboring police departments to ensure full attention to the site on the 26th, to protect and safeguard program participants, protestors, and supporters who decide to attend. Participants of Drag Queen Storytime must pre-register and show identification to gain admittance.

While the First Amendment protects the right to express one's views, it also allows the City to place reasonable time, place, and manner conditions on that expression. To that end, protests or demonstrations that impede or disrupt the Library's mission, interfere with the free speech of others, or threaten the safety of any person will not be tolerated.  

Our priority is the children and families who have registered to attend the Storytime program. We are taking extra precautions to make sure everyone is safe, including the following:

1.            The Recreation Center and Library will close at 1 p.m. on January 26th.
2.            The Recreation Center parking lot on Scotia will close at 1 p.m. as well.
3.           Individuals wishing to show support or opposition to the program will be encouraged to gather in the Recreation Center parking lot on Scotia - protesters at the north end, and supporters at the south end.
5.           Barricades will be set up on the sidewalk in front of the library to guarantee easy access to Storytime for participants.
6.           To guarantee traffic flow, no one will be permitted to gather in any street.
7.            Only persons who have signed up for the program will be allowed to enter the Library for the 3 p.m. event. Registered participants should consider walking to the Library, be dropped off, or park in the Burton School parking lot on Nadine Street because the Recreation Center parking lot will be closed.
8.           Registered participants must show ID before entering the Library.
9.           Street parking on Scotia will be reserved for Public Safety personnel between Talbot and Nadine.

Please remember - this is a program for children. We want to ensure that all children who attend our Library programs have a positive experience - not only during Storytime, but in route to the program as well.

We hope everyone who represents Huntington Woods will put a positive face on our City and not engage or provoke individuals who bring opposing viewpoints. A peaceful event is a much more effective message than hateful rhetoric or physical confrontations.

Anyone with additional questions or concerns, can contact the City Manager at [email protected] or 248.581.2632.

 

 

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