Community members play a parachute game at the Arcata ballpark during the library’s Pride Storytime | Photos: Jacquelyn Opalach


During a regular weekly storytime gathering on Wednesday morning, the Arcata Library hosted what might have been Arcata’s only Pride Month parade of 2021 . Bandemonium led a tiny group of flag-and-streamer-waving parents and their tots from the Arcata Library parking lot to the Arcata Ballpark, where Arcata Library Manager Susan Parsons read “My Mommy, My Mama, My Brother, and Me” by Natalie Meisner and the crowd danced to “All You Need is Love” by The Beatles.

This was the first pride-themed storytime the library has hosted, which, Parsons told the Outpost, was largely inspired by her late sister Betsy, who devoted her life to advocating civil rights for LGBTQ folks. “I do it because for so long I didn’t understand,” Parsons said. “She had to suffer for so long, but we all grew through Betsy, and I wanted to make sure that that doesn’t happen. I want to pass on her love and openness and compassion.”

Susan Parsons reading “My Mommy, My Mama, My Brother, and Me” by Natalie Meisner

Betsy was the first teacher to come out in the state of Maine, and she formed 100 Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) groups in high schools around Maine. Betsy’s story is written in “The Book of Pride: LGBTQ Heroes Who Changed the World” by Mason Funk, which is available to borrow at the Arcata and Humboldt County Library.

Parsons was thrilled to weave LGBTQ pride into the library’s weekly storytime reading and plans to do it again in the future. The event was supported by the City of Arcata, which allowed use of the ballpark, the Parks and Recreation department, which lent the library a parachute for the event, and music was provided by Bandemonium. Wednesday’s was the third in-person storytime the library has hosted in 15 months, which are usually held in the library garden.

“Arcata is an inclusive and open community where everybody belongs,” Parsons said. “Love is all there is!”

Scroll down for more photos of the event!