Not a member? Become one today!
         iBerkshires     Southern Berkshire Chamber     Lee Chamber     Lenox Chamber     Berkshire Community College    
Simon's Rock Awarded Freedom to Read Grant
01:23PM / Wednesday, March 27, 2024
Print | Email  

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Bard College at Simon's Rock was awarded a Freedom to Read Grant by the Newburger Schwartz Family Foundation. 
The grant was awarded to support the Alumni Library and Bard Queer Leadership Project in building a more robust collection of queer scholarship, starting a Queer Book Club, and hosting Drag Story Time events in partnership with Drag Story Hour of the Berkshires.
According to a press release:
In response to current educational threats with book bans affecting schools and libraries across the country and further proposed legislation against LGBTQ+ people's access to basic rights and education, Simon's Rock is actively seeking to create inclusive and equitable spaces for queer individuals. 
The Bard Queer Leadership Project and Alumni Library will utilize the grant funding to expand the library's current collection of queer books in order to fully enable the longevity of the Queer Book Club and the Bard Queer Leadership Project. The Queer Book Club will be an intergenerational space, open to local middle school students through rainbow seniors and will partner with local community organizations, to discuss queer books and learn about LGBTQ+ issues and experiences. Bard Queer Leadership Project students will eventually help lead this initiative as part of their leadership project training. 
The Queer Book Club will host their first meeting on April 6 at 3:00 p.m. at the Alumni Library, with following meetings on April 27 and May 11. This semester, the selected books are "Obie is Man Enough" and "He/She/They," both by Schuyler Bailar, inspirational speaker and first openly transgender NCAA Division swimmer, who was a guest speaker in the inaugural Queer Leaders Vision Forum in fall 2023 at Simon's Rock. Schuyler Bailar will return to campus for a book signing and pool party at the Kilpatrick Athletic Center on April 19 at 7:00 p.m. Participants in the Queer Book Club will receive a free copy of either book of their choice. 
The first Drag Story Time will be on Saturday, March 30 at 2:00 p.m. at the Simon's Rock Alumni Library and is open to all LGBTQ+ affirming individuals. The event is in partnership with Drag Story Hour of the Berkshires with local drag queens JV and Poppy DaBubbly. The second Drag Story Time will be Saturday, April 27 with drag queen Poppy DaBubbly and drag king Sativo Green.
"The idea really came about last spring as a response to the increase in book bans across the country, with many states and school boards aggressively doubling down on their policing of LGBTQ+ material and black authors and history. Discussion and community connection are vital if we are to push back against the ideology that leads to book banning; and if we can provide a discussion space for our little corner of the Berkshires, the impact of that could be huge. LGBTQ+ people need spaces where they can be themselves and our potential allies need spaces where they can ask questions and see queer folk as people, not a political talking point. I hope the book club and drag story time events can do that for us," said Victoria Bokaer, collections librarian at the Simon's Rock Alumni Library.
More Featured Stories is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Sreet, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384
© 2024 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved