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Drag queens protest Millennium Library's security measures
WINNIPEG -- A unique event is coming back to a Winnipeg library, but it isn't just about inspiring children to read anymore.
Local drag queens treating parents and kids to a special story hour at the Millennium Library used to be a common occurrence until new security measures were installed last year.
"Read by Queens is an event that has happened here in the past, inside the library in the kid's area," said Moxie Cotton, a volunteer with Read by Queens.
The event used to take place at the library regularly, but it hasn't happened in over a year.
"Since the Millennium started doing these security measures they've stopped,” said Cotton. “We can't really support being in a space that isn't accessible to everyone.”
Millennium Library introduced a new security screening process back in February of 2019.
According to Dr. Joe Curnow from Millennium for All, a group that opposes the library's new security measures, the city's open data portal shows there were fewer visits to the library in 2019 compared to years prior.
"Millennium Library is the only library in Canada to have installed security of this type," said Curnow.
Read by Queens is part of ‘Library Week’ -- a week of protests organized by Millennium for All to fight for adequate funding for libraries and the removal of security barriers.
"Security measures of any kind are just a really good way of telling people they're not welcome," said Mellanie Lawrenz, who brought her son to Millennium Library to listen to stories and show support.
Lawrenz is concerned about proposed cuts to other libraries. She hopes the city is paying attention to protests like these.
As for Cotton, she is happy to entertain the kids, but her reason for being at the library is apparent.
"We want the security measures removed. We want to see them gone because it's unfair. It's unfairly segmenting the population," she said.
Tuesday will mark one year since the security barriers were installed.
Millennium for All said it is holding a rally that day at Millennium Library at 4:30 p.m.