Wasilla’s lone bookstore takes heat for hosting upcoming drag storytime

The social media announcement had people flocking to the bookstore’s review pages
The social media announcement had people flocking to the bookstore’s review pages
Published: May. 3, 2023 at 8:47 PM AKDT|Updated: May. 3, 2023 at 8:51 PM AKDT
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WASILLA, Alaska (KTUU) - The only bookstore to reside in Wasilla has taken some heat lately after Black Birch Books announced on social media that it would be hosting a drag storytime event in early June. Store owner Taylor Jordan said people began leaving negative comments and reviews on the store’s websites out of opposition, but she’s not one to dispute a person’s right to free speech.

“It’s really important to me that I allow commenting on all of my posts and events, and I try to not delete very many because people are able to actually voice how they feel about something,” Jordan said. “That is an important thing — that everyone gets a say.”

Jordan admitted they she did have to remove a few that crossed a line by posting someone’s residential address.

The reviews put a small blemish on the store’s 5-year-long run of 5-star ratings. One reviewer on Facebook stated that she formerly frequented the small bookshop and even made a number of donations totaling hundreds of dollars, but said that with the store’s “recent decision to bring drag queens in to read to children I will not be supporting this book store any longer.”

The reviews on Google also started coming in not long after Jordan posted the event. One said they hoped the store would cancel the event and that “people support local businesses for their work not for their promotion of agenda that will demoralize our society”, while another called the bookstore “great” until “they wanted to encourage grooming little kids.”

Despite the negative feedback, of the 143 total reviews on Google, Black Birch Book’s rating still sits at 4.6/5 stars.

“I’m comfortable with that because that’s what this space is,” Jordan said. “Everybody should be comfortable to come here, but everybody gets a say regardless.”

Jordan said the overall tone in the comment section on the event post was overwhelmingly positive and that most people supported her decision to host an LGBTQ+ inclusive event.

“There’s such a large group in this community, and sometimes they feel like they don’t have a safe space,” Jordan said. “I’m delighted to accommodate whatever anybody needs.”

Regardless of protesters potentially motivated enough to show up the day of the event, Jordan said she’s not backing down and the event will go on as planned on June 10 at 12 p.m.

“We’re not worried and we’re excited for everybody to come here and have the opportunity to be heard on either side,” Jordan said. “That’s the point of the bookstore, and that’s the point of this space, is that everybody belongs.”