The Ketchikan Public Library will not host another drag queen storytime as part of its Pride Month programming. That’s according to Ketchikan’s city manager, who recently reversed course and canceled the event, citing the public’s response to last year’s reading.
Ketchikan City Manager Delilah Walsh told the mayor and City Council in an email dated April 17 that drag queen storytime would not return for a second year.
“As the chief administrative officer for the City, I am ultimately responsible for all operations of the organization and I am directing that the Library not program a drag queen story time,” Walsh wrote in an email obtained by KRBD through a public records request. “I apologize for the change and appreciate the opportunity for me to dig a bit deeper; I am now very firm in my resolve moving forward.”
The city of Ketchikan has a council-manager system of government, meaning the city manager acts as the city’s chief administrator, subject to direction by the City Council.
The decision is the latest development in a long-running debate over LGBTQ programming at Ketchikan’s library. Last June, the Ketchikan Public Library held its first-ever storytime with a drag queen to celebrate Pride Month and promote inclusivity.
The drag queen Luna, portrayed by high school drama teacher Tommy Varela, read a picture book to dozens of children and guided them through a series of simple dance moves alongside a children’s librarian.
The event was wildly popular: Luna had to read the book three separate times to accommodate all the attendees. The library director said it was the biggest storytime on record.
But the runup to the drag queen event was marked by controversy. The issue dominated two Ketchikan City