Bomb Threats Made to New York Bookstore Over Drag Queen Story Hour

A bomb threat made to Buffalo Street Books sent fear rippling through Ithaca, but the community remains strong. Keep reading for details.

Book Culture Book News
Small kids get read a story at a story time event. In the front are two girls. One has blonde hair swept in a ponytail with a pink shirt and denim overalls. The other girl has brown curly hair in two pigtails with a turquoise shirt. Both girls are smiling wide.

Located in Ithaca, New York, Buffalo Street Books is a pioneering community-owned cooperative bookstore that aims to support its local community and economy by promoting diverse and inclusive discussion. Offering books of all genres to all ages, Buffalo Street Books hosts a myriad of community events, like interviewing local and national authors and hosting game nights, yoga classes, and story hours. However, this bookstore recently experienced severe backlash for its LGBTQ+ inclusive events, igniting fear amongst its patrons.

What We Know

On April 7, an anonymous email containing a bomb threat was sent to a news agency in another region separate from Ithaca, targeting Buffalo Street Books. The threat appears to have been made in opposition to the bookstore’s efforts to support the LGBTQ+ community, specifically their Drag Story Hour. The email named and threatened five bookstore members; however, no immediate harm was presented. Law enforcement has been deployed as a safety measure, and Buffalo Street Books has called on the American Booksellers Association for guidance after this shocking incident.

Staying Strong

In the wake of the event, the store states they will review the safety measures they already have in place and are open to suggestions from other bookstores who have been unfortunate enough to go through the same circumstance. Yet, staff at Buffalo Street Books say their passion and commitment to maintaining an inclusive, diverse space is more vital than ever. They will continue to provide a welcoming environment, sustain holding their events, spread love, and create a safe community through books.

Books and bookstores are crucial in creating empathy, understanding, and tolerance within communities. They are invaluable sources of inspiration and community; our job is to keep them safe and thriving.

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