Rainbow storytelling and slam poetry will be centre stage during Pride month celebrations at Hastings District Library.
The Libraries Pride Month brings a month-long series of events, activities and displays relevant to the region's rainbow community and their allies.
As part of "Hastings Libraries of Pride, present Pride Month 2022", events will run from May 20 to June 19.
Events will include rainbow storytimes, a living library, a book and movie night, craft nights, and a fabulous LGBTQI+ Poetry Slam with Motif Poetry.
The pride month celebrations have grown since the library first held events and put up displays to create a welcoming space for those identifying as LGBTQI+.
In 2020, the library held its first Rainbow Storytime with the touring rainbow storytellers Erika and Coco Flash.
Hastings District Council manager of community services and programmes Paula Murdoch said the response from the community was so positive.
The positive response helped the HDC decide to deliver a pilot series of events relevant to the rainbow community the following year.
In 2022, Murdoch said it was decided to hold activities that coincide with the Out on the Shelves campaign.
Out on the Shelves, organised by national charity InsideOUT and is a resource that lists books with rainbow themes and characters to support rainbow young people to find stories that represent their identities in positive and affirming ways.
Public and school libraries all over New Zealand have taken part in Out on the Shelves since InsideOUT started the campaign.
Murdoch said, "Out on the Shelves is a chance for libraries to promote and build their rainbow collections, celebrate these stories and help connect rainbow young people with their stories and each other."
This year, all events are being held at Hastings Library.
Drag Queen storytellers Erika and Coco Flash are returning to deliver two Rainbow Storytimes for all ages, plus a Living Library.
The Living Library is a tool that seeks to challenge prejudice and discrimination, with Erika and Coco being the human books.
Attendees can ask questions in a safe space and hear about Erika and Coco's lives in and out of drag, explained to the community services and programmes manager.
Other events have been designed for various ages and include a book and movie night, craft nights, a picnic in civic square and a poetry slam.
The Poetry Slam with Motif Poetry is the grand finale of the month's events and will be held on Saturday 18.
This evening, hosted by UK Slam champion Sara Hirsch, is a perfect opportunity for rainbow poets and allies to come together, use their voices, be heard, and celebrate the spoken word.
The Prism report released by the Human Rights Commission found members of New Zealand's rainbow community continue to suffer from overt and subtle forms of widespread discrimination.
"This sector of our community has the same rights as the rest of New Zealand, and these events are designed to connect, promote acceptance, diversity, inclusivity, and be kind," Murdoch said.
She went on to say council's library services ensure diversity is represented in its programming with several events and activities organised throughout the month promoting tolerance and acceptance of diversity.
To find out more and to register for an event go to the Hastings District Libraries website.