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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Bomb threats target Pennsylvania library, its director over Drag Queen Story Hour

A series of bomb threats were made against a Pennsylvania library and its director targeting a Drag Queen Story Hour on Saturday afternoon, according to reports.

The event was canceled after a suspicious package was found at the Lancaster Public Library on Monday and additional threats were made to neighboring buildings, forcing police to evacuate the block, PennLive reported.

The library’s director, Lisa Holland, was also escorted away from the scene by police after another threat was reported at her home.

“It just saddens me to the core that leaders of this county turned this into something that it was not,” Holland told the outlet, shortly before she learned of the threat against her.

The Lancaster Public Library received a suspicious package on Saturday morning. AP
Neighboring buildings also received bomb threats, prompting police to shut down the block in Lancaster. AP

The Drag Queen Story Hour was scheduled to go on at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon. The event is presented by “Miss Amie Vanité,” who’s been performing in drag for the last 20 years in the region, according to the listing on the library’s website.

The program “spreads awareness and acceptance by celebrating diversity, inclusiveness, kindness and love through LGBTQ+ literature for young readers,” and is listed as open to all ages.

It had received widespread support from the community, with 500 families signing up — but was also staunchly opposed by some local officials, according to PennLive.

“The naysayers were saying it wasn’t safe for children. Well I don’t think this was safe for children,” Holland said outside of the taped-off library. 

The threats forced a scheduled Drag Queen Story Hour to cancel. AP

“We were not using any more taxpayer money than we do any other Saturday to keep the library open,” she continued. “And now you have all the amount of money going into deciding what to do with this package and all the different police forces that are a part it. That’s costing a whole lot more than having the story time.”

Bomb-sniffing dogs responded to the library Saturday morning to inspect a package that had been delivered the day before and determined it was suspicious. The event was called off by 9:30 a.m. by Lancaster Pride, who runs the story hour.

The library was cleared, but Pennsylvania State Police issued a statement around 12:30 p.m. saying “there are additional reported threats that are still being investigated. We are advising the public to remain away from the area of the 100 block of N. Queen Street.”

“It’s heartbreaking,” Tiffany Shirley, of Lancaster Pride told the outlet through tears. “We are definitely disappointed. We worked very hard for the past few weeks to make this a safe and enjoyable event.”

The Post has reached out to the Lancaster Public Library and the Pennsylvania State Police for comments.

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