Libraries and Comic Conventions? Yep, you just might be able to get your con on at your local library!

Libraries are embracing comics fans in a new way.  We know that collections continue to grow, and projects like the League’s Comic Recommendation Engine get librarians excited. But did you know that libraries are beginning to throw open their hallowed halls for a day or two just for sequential art fans? Libraries all over the country have started hosting small-scale comics conventions. While these efforts are unlikely to have the power to draw stars and crowds the way the large cons like Emerald City can, they should be an awesome way for those without the money or the geographic convenience to attend a big con a chance to get a taste of the experience.  Take, for example, the Toronto Comics Arts Festival, hosted by the Toronto Reference Library. With more than 300 creators and 18,000 attendees, the most significant difference between this library-hosted convention and a regular comic convention is that, since it’s hosted by a library, there are no barriers to entry– the festival is free.

Even the library system in my not-so-big hometown of Harford County, Maryland is hosting a mini comic convention.

Don’t have one in your local library?  Be sure to ask your librarian if she or he has ever considered hosting. Who knows, maybe a mini-comic con will be opening its doors at your library next.

Librarians at Comic Con

Thanks to a new generation of comics reading librarians, the expansion of genres in the medium and the ability of graphic novels to attract hordes of male and female teen readers, comics—namely, graphic novel collections—have found a new home in the library market. The panel, “Bringing Comics to Life in the Library!” held at the recent San Diego Comic-Con International, looked at the strategies five libraries use to engage readers and the implications for comics publishers. –Librarians at Comic-Con – Publisher’s Weekly

This is a great article about librarians working to promote comics in their libraries; I wish I could have seen the panel it talks about!

Comics at ALA

Greetings from ALA!

Comics are everywhere here (though it looks like I’m losing the comics vs. graphic novels battle), and there’s tons of interesting stuff going on. I just watched a presentation from iVerse on ComicsPlus for Libraries, a service launching in August that will allow libraries to digitally lend comics the same way they do ebooks through services like Overdrive.

The service looks promising, and there’s a lot of deserved praise for their commercial app, but I was disappointed to see that it seems like it still won’t do anything for discovery. That’s one of our big hobbyhorses here at the LCL, and the subject of our continued work with ComicBot at MLLL.org.

While the app is visually beautiful, and the interactions are lovely, the only method of organization is by publisher, which is a convention that comes straight out of the comic book store. Browsing by publisher is a great way to make hardcore fans feel comfortable, but it’s not a great way to get readers beyond their comfort zone, introduce them to new work, and break down the silos that so define comics. ComicsPlus’ catalog does a great job of crossing these boundaries, it’s too bad their discovery doesn’t.