N.Y.C. Library Moves Drag Queen Story Hour Location Following Bomb Threat

No device was found after the Brooklyn branch was evacuated and searched, NYPD confirmed to PEOPLE

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A New York City library received a bomb threat Saturday morning only a half hour before its drag queen story hour for children was set to start.

NYPD confirmed to PEOPLE that at approximately 10:30 a.m., police officers, the EMS unit, the bomb squad and the canine unit responded to a 911 call saying there was a bomb at the Cortelyou branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. The library was subsequently evacuated.

Related: Montana Enacts Law Specifically Targeting Drag Story Hours

“Officers responded to a bomb threat. There were no devices located,” a spokesperson for the Deputy Commissioner for Public Information told PEOPLE.

The library was later cleared and deemed safe for reentry, the police spokesperson said, adding that the bomb threat is an ongoing investigation.

The event, called “Drag Story Hour,” was listed on the fall schedule of the library's website. The American Booksellers Association describes the story hour as a children's program featuring drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools and bookstores in order to celebrate diversity, teach empathy and help curb bullying of LGBTQ kids.

After the bomb threat incident, Cortelyou's story hour was later moved to Connecticut Muffin, a nearby coffee and dessert shop.

Related: Anti-Drag Legislation Is Sweeping the Nation: Here's Where Each State Stands on Drag Bans

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Firuza Chalimova, a barista at Connecticut Muffin, who was working during the relocated book reading, said “everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.”

“They were just reading a book,” Chalimova told PEOPLE.

According to a report in the New York Post, an email threat was sent to the branch from an unknown source in Buffalo, New York, alleging an explosive device was set to go off inside the library at 11:30 a.m.

A parent who was with their daughter at the event told the New York Post that it was a shame something “extremely dangerous” like a bomb threat would affect a book reading for children.

“These are children, and children just want to hear stories … It’s a shame how somebody just ruined it and threatened violence,” they told the outlet. 

Drag Story Hours have been a political target of conservative groups, with some states even enacting legislation banning them.

In May, Montana became the first state to specifically prohibit anyone wearing drag from reading to children in schools and libraries, seemingly targeting family-friendly Drag Story Hour events that have been subject to criticism from far-right groups.

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