Free Comic Book Day Panel OR How Christie Needs Practice With Microphones
|L-R: Karen, Christie, Pamela, Kat, & Mike|
Notice the microphones? Yea. Well, I’m usually loud enough in *any* room that I don’t need them, and I don’t remember the last time I used one. I didn’t use one to present at the Texas Library Association this past April, don’t use one in my programs, and even our Rock Band microphone is broken so I don’t use it. We were asked a series of questions, and the last one for the panel was has there been any surprises that you’ve had with Free Comic Book Day in your community?
Karen: The first year someone posted on Yalsa-bk, “What are you doing for Free Comic Book Day?” The next year I made sure not to miss it and have done so almost every year since.
Karen: I have had caricature artists several years. I also make comic book panels and graphic novel page layouts using the shapes feature in Publisher to create blank pages for my teens to design their own comics/gns. You can also use the Comic Book app on your iPhone (they were developing one for Android as well) to create pictures and actual comic book pages.
|Made using Comic Book app on the iPhone|
Karen: Before joining Christie at this library system, I worked at a library in Marion where I had a large teen area. I usually had my program right there in the teen area. I did not have all my programs here, but this one I did because it was usually a come and go program and it worked well in the teen area. Plus, this allowed my teens to browse my graphic novel collection while they were waiting.
Karen: We always got pretty good turn out for our Free Comic Book day events. Even outside of the actual program, we had the comic books available all day at our Reference Desk and we usually gave out 200+. Our comics were donated by the local comic book store, but the current comic book store asks us to pay for them at the discounted price of $.50 a title. The teens themselves are very enthusiastic about the event, and it usually provides me an opportunity to have conversations with adults about the value of comic books.
Karen: I did one year have a local to Ohio illustrator come in and do a drawing workshop with the teens. I found him using my ninja library research skills. Most big cities have a good database of local caricature artists, which is how I found ours. When booking a caricature artist it is important to ask how many caricatures they can draw by the hour. They charge by the hour, and it is not cheap, so we could only ever afford 2 hours. You want an artist who can draw upwards of 10 to 15 per hours as opposed to one who can do five per the hour. Also, they probably have online reviews which you will also want to check out.
Karen: We have a graphic novel collection at both my current and my previous library. To be honest, I am not a huge graphic novel reader – but I am a huge graphic novel supporter. In fact, I get asked daily for graphic novels and they are increasingly popular with my MG readers as well. I would love to pull my MG GNs out and create a separate section in the J FIC area as well to meet this high demand item, but it would require some cataloging and space that are issues for the moment. I am always surprised not only by how popular they are, but they are just as popular with the girls as they are with the boys. In fact, my Tween has recently read quite a few.
Karen’s final words: It was such an honor to be a part of this panel. And it was amusing to me to see my coworker and best fiend turn crimson as “I got screwed” echoed throughout the exhibit hall. It was also an honor to sit up there with Kat Kan and Mike Pawuk and be a representative for those librarians who really don’t know a lot about graphic novels, but support the medium because it has value and teens love them. And yes, yes I did wear my hair in Princess Leia buns, because I was having an epically bad hair day. It happens. But we can pretend I was making some Meta tie in to how Free Comic Book Day was on May 4th this year. Yeah, let’s go with that.
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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