Library forced to cancel Drag Queen Story Hour over bomb threats

The library was closed as a bomb squad worked to clear the area. The event was supposed to feature a drag queen reading to children.
olice K-9s patrol around the cordoned off 100 block of Queen Street in Lancaster, Pa.
Posted at 8:56 AM, Mar 25, 2024

A library in Pennsylvania was forced to cancel a pride event in which a drag queen was set to read to children after a suspicious package was found in the building amid bomb threats.

The Lancaster Public library announced Drag Queen Story Hour with Miss Amie was canceled on March 23. The library also closed for the day.

“Hate has no home here,” said a post by Lancaster Pride shared by the library on Facebook.

The Lancaster City Bureau of Police said on Saturday morning a police K-9 alerted officers of a suspicious package during a preplanned sweep. The Pennsylvania State Police bomb squad was notified and the library was closed. Businesses in the area were also informed.

The bomb squad eventually cleared the scene. Police said that the contents of the package were "benign."

Following the incident, Lancaster police said they received additional bomb threats for locations at and near the library, as well as outside of their jurisdiction. An evacuation notice was issued, police said.

Authorities again worked to clear the scenes with the help of K-9s. Police said after the areas were deemed safe, businesses were allowed to reopen and that there was no danger to the public. 

“Not only do bomb threats disrupt the peace and safety of our community, they waste valuable public resources. These threats trigger costly responses and stretch our resources thin, leaving our community vulnerable to genuine emergencies,” Lancaster Chief of Police Richard Mendez said in a press release. “Bomb threats will not be tolerated, and we are committed to identifying and prosecuting those responsible.” 

According to the Drag Story Hour with Miss Amie event page on Facebook, the story hour was about “celebrating diversity, fostering inclusivity, and teaching our children (and ourselves) the beautiful lesson of embracing everyone just as they are.” In 2023, a report from the National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin indicated that individuals or events associated with the LGBTQ+ community were likely targets of potential violence. 

A 2022 report from GLAAD found that 54% of transgender and nonbinary people feel unsafe in their own communities. The same report indicated that 36% of all LGBTQ+ adults felt unsafe in their communities.