How Visibility, Hypervisibility, and Invisibility Shape Library Staff and Drag Performer Perceptions of and Experiences with Drag Storytimes in Public Libraries
This article uses data from interviews with public library staff and drag performers to understand how discourses surrounding queer visibility, hypervisibility, and invisibility affect library staff members’ and performers’ perceptions of drag storytimes. Informed by interviews with library staff and drag performers, we argue that hypervisibility and invisibility narratives mark drag storytimes as dangerous and trendy and may unduly influence how some library staff members view these events. Conversely, other staff members and drag performers engage in significant tactical emotional and physical labor to recognize these events as inherently queer and powerful critical literacy programs. Understanding how varying degrees of visibility mediate library staff and performer perceptions of and experiences with drag storytimes lends insights into larger narratives centered on queerness and belonging within libraries. Drag performers’ narrative accounts also offer paths by which library staff may work with performers to promote authentic queer visibility.