LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – There is growing controversy surrounding a Drag Queen Story Time event scheduled for early October at the Lafayette Public Library.
What was originally meant to be an afternoon of books, songs, and activities led by Drag Queens from UL Lafayette’s Delta Lambda Phi Organization, is now in the center of controversy between the Lafayette Public Library and Lafayette Consolidated Government.
In a statement LCG released on Tuesday, Mayor-President Joel Robideaux says he will try to have the event canceled or moved, but the library is fighting back.
“A great, fun, program. We decided we would offer it, but we also knew that it was a program that was different from our regular programs,” said Teresa Elberson, Director of the Lafayette Public Library System.
She’s standing by the Drag Queen Story Time event, being put on in October 6.
“We really felt that Lafayette, with the Krewe of Apollo in town and the fact that everybody just dressed up for Mardi Gras, that we had an audience for this type of story program,” said Elberson.
But now, the Mayor-President’s Office has released a statement against the event, with a statement reading, “Our parish libraries are public spaces, with venues that any group or individual can reserve, on a non-discriminatory basis, as required by law. We have to be certain, however, that our internally approved programming is both appropriate and serves the needs of Lafayette Parish. That is the only way our library system will continue to enjoy the support from our community that it has historically received.”
In the statement, LCG says it never approved the taxpayer funded event, but Elberson says the Library Board of Control holds that decision-making power.
“I have to follow the Library Bill of Rights and the code of ethics. It would be a violation of my professional credentials, I’m a member of this organization, to do anything but to support this program going forward,” Elberson stated.
“Anyone should be able to read to someone. We need more people reading,” said Anita Feist, a Lafayette resident.
But that reading could now be in jeopardy…
Elberson says the library will be following the footsteps of libraries across the country that have already hosted the event, which is aimed at sharing stories of individuality, openness and acceptance.
And she’s not canceling it.
“I hope to have an open dialogue, there was never meant to be anything but that,” she said.
Mayor-President Robideaux would not give News 10 a comment on his statement.
To read the full statements from both LCG and the Lafayette Public Library, click this link.
The event is scheduled to take place on Saturday, October 6th from 2-3 p.m., for ages 3 to 6 and their parents.