TPiB: Free Comic Book Day
This Saturday marks the 11th year of Free Comic Book Day, and I LOVE this day. Started in 2002, and coordinated by Diamond Comics, participating comic shops AND libraries across the country give comics AWAY FREE to those who come by. These comics are free to customers (not the stores), and the day has three purposes:
1. to introduce people everywhere to the joy of reading comics (we love reading, right?)
2. to gain future comic readers (and gaining future readers is always good)
3. to thank current comic book buyers and customers for their support (generates excellent good will within the community)
However, if you do not HAVE free comics to give away to your patrons, DO NOT PANIC. You can still put together an awesome Free Comic Book Day event with a minimum of effort.
First, check the Free Comic Book Day website for retailers that are participating in your area. Give them a call and explain who you are and that you want to put flyers up in the library pointing patrons to their locations for Free Comic Book Day, and that *NEXT* year you’d love to partner with them. By this time, it’s way too late to expect shops to free up some of their inventory for you, but this way you can start generating the good will with the shops for next year.
Second, think about what type of programming you can reasonably handle on Saturday without stretching your staff too thin. If you have a wonderful manager, or are in charge of your own schedule, then full speed ahead; if you’re not, take a look at when you’re on the desk and how the rest of the library is staffed. Always keep an eye on what you can REASONABLY handle, and what the rest of the library staff can handle as well. The best types of programs will not stress ANYONE out needlessly.
Think about whether you want to do self directed or staff directed programming. Then take a look at the ideas below that can fit into either.
Movie Marathons: Do you have a public performance license? Do you have the equipment to show movies? Do you have the space (teen room, program room, various areas)? If so, pull movies to show throughout the day, and combine them with some of the self directed ideas below. Iron Man 3 will be released in theaters this Friday; show Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and The Avengers. Need to show movies that are more family friendly as you are in an open space? Go with Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl, Despicable Me, Scooby Doo, or Speed Racer. Or if you have the additional anime license, show anime from the Movie Licensing USA Collection.
Low Tech Gaming: Have a space or some empty tables? Put up flyers advertising a Low Tech Gaming day. Let your teens know to bring their Yu-Gi-Oh cards and your tweens to bring their Pokemon decks. See if any of your staffers would be willing to lend their comic based versions of Monopoly (I know I am not the only one out there that has Star Wars The Clone Wars Monopoly or Marvel Monopoly). Maybe someone has Simpsons Operation. Find a copy of Apples to Apples Disney Version. Or maybe someone has Scooby Doo Clue.
Console Gaming: If you have the space and the equipment, set up your console gaming equipment for some free style gaming. Titles like Marvel vs Capcom, Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, DragonBall Z and Naruto completely fit the bill for a comic based program. An entire page in Wikipedia is devoted to titles (note: not all titles will be appropriate for teen programs in all libraries- you know your library so choose what would work for you).
Costume Party: Get buy-in from your library management, and have a costume party- everyone come dressed as their favorite hero (or villain). If you can’t go all out in dress, see if you can get a waiver for everyone to wear jeans and their favorite comic based T-shirt (within workplace rules- no graphic language, etc.). Then have a costume contest with your teens! Have their secret identity be their normal identity, and then they have a certain amount of time to change into their superhero (or villain) identity (without having to strip). The changing room could be a closet off the program room or a storage area (if needed), and everyone would vote for their favorite costume. Music could be queued up from various comic based movie scores, and the winner announced at the end. Stations could be made from various self directed ideas, and it could be an entire celebration.
SUPER HERO CUFFS: Over at Sewing In No Man’s Land they have a quick tutorial for Super Hero Cuffs… Perfect for all those toilet paper rolls you didn’t know what to do with….
JOURNAL PROMPT: Sometimes all teens want is a chance to draw and doodle, so why not make May a month of self exploration with a Saturday of journal prompts? Comic Book Saturday could start with what type of superhero would I be… Lay out scissors, blank copy paper, leftover magazines, colored copy paper, construction paper, markers, and other craft supplies, and let them loose.
INNER SUPER HERO: Or if art journaling is too much, have them create their Inner Super Hero with the printable forms from KOMBOH.
In the past, I have also hired a Caricature artist to come for a few hours into the teen area and just had an informal program where teens hung out, read comics, and had their caricatures made. You can do online searches to find caricature artists in your area.
What plans do you have for Free Comic Book Day? Or are you celebrating it as Star Wars Day (May the 4th Be With You)…?
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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