Kelowna librarians honoured for Drag Queen Storytime initiative

Librarians win award

Two librarians from the downtown Kelowna branch of the Okanagan Regional Library have won a prestigious award for their work in the Drag Queen Story Time initiative.

Head librarian Chris Stephenson and now Head of Youth Services Ashley Machum were awarded the BC Library Association's Champion of Intellectual Freedom Award in an online ceremony on Wednesday, June 24.

The award honours an individual or organization that 'demonstrates significant advancement of intellectual freedom in the public realm for the benefit of British Columbians.'

It is granted to librarians and library staff that champion intellectual freedom issues in their libraries, communities, province or country.

"It has been an honour to be recognized by our library colleagues from across the province by our professional body. We accept the award on behalf of our entire branch staff who worked hard on our 2 most successful story times in library history, and each of us grew and learned along with our community.  

"We were glad to have conversations with dozens of new and established library patrons in our region, and we received - and responded to - some powerful feedback and got to know our community better in the process. And the conversations have continued! Before Ashley left she was able to initiate a 'Community Readers' program, where people from all walks of life are welcome to come and read - with some training - for these unique story times held periodically through the year."

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