Calling all children. You get your pick at the Faulkner County Library at 10 am this Saturday between story time with a group that goes to fight for racial minorities, drag queens and trans folks or an evangelical preacher educating you on his path to salvation.
In Room One will be “Pastor Story Hour,” where Owen Strachan of Grace Bible Theological Seminary in Conway will read “a picture book and deliver a biblical message to children ages 2-12 and their parents/guardians,” according to Pastor Story Hour’s Facebook post.
“The purpose of Pastor Story Hour is to educate children on the existence of God and the path to salvation in Christ Jesus,” the post says. “Pastor Story Hour is a direct contrast of modern culture’s popular and controversial Drag Queen Story Hour that has been occurring more and more frequently in public and private venues around the United States.”
Just across the hallway in Room Two will be “Inclusive Story Hour” sponsored by the Faulkner County Coalition for Social Justice and featuring “storytime, crafts, cookies, and community.”
“We will read books featuring Black, Brown, Queer, Trans, GNC, and Disabled People,” Leah Bilokury, a coalition member and Conway mother of three, wrote online. (GNC is short for gender non-conforming.)
Bilokury said she and another parent have volunteered to read books at the event. She did not know yet if any drag queens would participate.
John McGrawdirector of the Faulkner County Library System, said in an email that he wants “to underscore that these are not library events.”
“The library has four public spaces and desperately needs twice that or more. These rooms are offered to anyone and everyone who can abide by our room policy,” he added.
McGraw said he hopes “this will be a quiet Saturday. If this turns into an arms race to see who can read to children more, whatever. I just hope that everyone is able to comply with the stickiest parts of the policy, which is that these are public meetings, that there is no charge to attend, that there is no sale or promotion of products or services, and that the attendees’ names are not used later for financial gain.”