NASHUA — The chairman of the board of trustees for the Nashua Public Library says drag queen Monique Toosoon will still be presenting a reading event aimed at teens this weekend, despite some calls for the event be called off.
“There had been numerous requests from the public that it be canceled or postponed,” library trustee chairman Linda Laflamme said on Wednesday. “The board’s discussion was focused on what oversights are in place, the content that will be discussed and where the idea had come from.”
Laflamme said that for every person who opposed the event during a trustee meeting on Tuesday, there was another person voicing support.
“It was amazingly even,” she said.
Toosoon, a drag queen performer who hosts 21-and-older shows throughout the state, will be reading poetry to city teens at 4 p.m. Saturday at the library. The reading material was selected by library leaders, and focuses on topics such as diversity, inclusion and feeling different. Library officials say the event is not a drag show, and will include only content appropriate for teenagers.
The event has raised objections from a conservative New Hampshire organization, Cornerstone Action.
“I was not surprised that it did engender passion on both sides of the issue,” said Laflamme, noting the event was requested by a teen patron of the library. “The important message here is that the library does try to listen to its patrons and present programs that reflect requests and reflect interest level.”
Laflamme said the event will take place in the theater, and the doors will be closed. The library director will be present to provide oversight.
“I would not be surprised by a heavy attendance from either side of the issue,” she said.
Last week, an attorney with Cornerstone Action said local taxpayers should be made aware of the events that are taking place at the library, which is funded with taxpayer money. Parents have a right to know that the library is promoting the event as family-friendly, even though the performer — during her 21-and-older shows — is highly sexual and has group members with sexually explicit names, said attorney Christopher Jay.
Alderman Tom Lopez told aldermen this week that he supports Director Jennifer McCormack’s judgement and execution in library programming.
“There is obviously a large amount of concern from a small group about the drag queen story event coming up this Saturday,” said Lopez.