“For me, it is an intellectual freedom issue”: Drag storytimes, neutrality, and ALA core values

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2 Scopus citations


Drag storytimes are increasingly popular programing events in which drag performers lead storytime in public libraries or other settings; they have been both popular and contentious. In this study, we utilized data from a national survey of 458 library staff and 26 subsequent interviews to investigate connections between drag storytime, intellectual freedom, neutrality, and other core librarianship values. The data was analyzed inductively and several key themes emerged: hosting drag storytimes is an intellectual freedom stance; various perspectives on the American Library Association stance in support of drag storytimes; connections to other core values; emphasizing diversity to serve one’s community; and contesting the neutrality of libraries. We found difficult-to-reconcile stances of “presenting all sides” and “taking a side,” but we suggest a way forward by focusing on the outcome of collective self-governance (based on core values of intellectual freedom and democracy).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)734-743
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Librarianship and Information Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • Core values
  • drag storytime
  • intellectual freedom
  • neutrality
  • public libraries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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