- bringing in new readers
- showcasing your library's graphic novel or manga collection
- letting publishers or local comic book stores connect with fans & build a relationship with your library
Hmmm... next May might be a good time to hold a comic con — maybe as part of a Star Wars Day celebration on May the 4th (as in May the Fourth Be With You), or on Free Comic Book Day (a worldwide event held the first Saturday in May, when free comics aimed at new readers are handed out.)
There's an article over at Publishers Weekly titled How to Throw a Comic Con at Your Library that'll give you ideas; here are some snippets:
Over the past few years, there’s been an explosion in attendance and enthusiasm for comic book conventions around the world. At the same time, graphic novels have become one of the hottest categories at U.S. libraries. It’s no surprise, then, that comics-themed events at libraries are drawing crowds.
The events range from simple author appearances to huge multiday international affairs, such as the Toronto Comic Art Festival, held at the Toronto Reference Library, which drew 18,000 in 2013. Libraries are hosting scholarly comics symposia and participating in Free Comic Book Day, a worldwide event held the first Saturday in May, when free comics aimed at new readers are handed out. And there are even more singularly creative events—some involving partnering with local retailers and Star Wars cosplayers. [re: cosplayers, see my note below]
And here are some tidbits from the article:
- Originally when we thought of the event, we thought it would be teens, but we had everyone from older people to little kids. It was a nice cross-section of the community, with lots of participation.
- Kids Read Comics holds basic drawing and storytelling workshops, but builds from there — a workshop on drawing robots was a standout last year.
- Merritt considers Kids Read Comics to be something of a pilot program for the many library cons that have followed. “We wanted to become an open-source model so we could communicate some of these ideas to other libraries to put something together on their own,” he says. And it’s working.
- ... a chance to spotlight the library’s growing graphic novel collection. During the event, on March 22, graphic novels comprised 63% of the books checked out at the library.
- Topics of workshops at the Chesterfield event include how to create a comic strip, how to create your own villain, drawing your own chibi (cute) characters, manga drawing, and so on. “We had all these topics both times, and the room was always stuffed full, with kids and adults.
- “It’s hard to get teens to come to any event, but for this, they come to the library and get so excited,” says Hamdan.
- Another big hit was the costume contest, which readers and library personnel participated in.
- Graphic novel checkouts are way up, and Mark Waid’s Hulk books are a particular favorite. The campaign also resulted in stronger ties with local media.
- "... our Friends of the Library group sold hot pizza by the slice and cold bottled water and ended up having a nice fundraiser.”
Read the full article How to Throw a Comic Con at Your Library to get all the details, plus all the tips and tricks for putting on your own comic con.
Notes about cosplay:
- cosplay = "costume play" where people wear costumes to roleplay a character
- connect with the Wisconsin Garrison of the 501st Legion; you can use this form to request an appearance at your event
- The 501st Legion Star Wars costuming organization's Facebook page; their mission is to seek "to promote interest in Star Wars through the building and wearing of quality costumes, and to facilitate the use of these costumes for Star Wars-related events as well as contributions to the local community through costumed charity and volunteer work."
• Hat tip to Ten Great Event Ideas for Your Public Library
• Image credit: the photo "Comic-Con 2011 - I...I'll Think About It / Lichtenstein" on Flickr is copyright (c) 2011 Tony Aceves, and made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0) Creative Commons license