Cosplay, Comics, and Geek Culture in Libraries [Blog] by Ellyssa Kroski

Ellyssa Kroski of iLibrarian fame said farewell to the iLibrarian blog in late 2014. iLibrarian was one of my top resources for emerging technologies in libraries and information services. I will miss the iLibrarian posts but am excited about the new website she has launched called Cosplay, Comics, and Geek Culture in Libraries. I’ve participated in coding and medieval times events over the past few years and am surprised at how quickly these events are transitioning into the mainstream. With the increasing popularity and growth of these activities, CCGC in Libraries is sure to be a great resource for librarians and fans of cosplay, comics and geek culture.

Speaking of geek culture, I’ve been watching TNT’s The Librarians series and I guess I’m hooked. It’s silly and over the top but I enjoy the mix of science fiction, mystery and adventure. IMO each episode’s concept/theme is more interesting than the overarching storyline. Cassandra’s outfits are way too distracting though! The remaining 2 episodes of Season 1 air tonight, January 18, 2015, on the Space channel in Canada. 

Via the CCGC in Libraries website.

Welcome everyone to Cosplay, Comics, and Geek Culture in Libraries! This is an exciting time for geeks of all kinds to be involved with libraries as today’s savvy libraries have begun to embrace new ways to engage library patrons such as fandom events, comic book and graphic novel collections, comic cons, cosplay events.

The intersection of these interests with libraries is a perfect match as libraries are striving to develop entertaining and educational new programs and services that will appeal to not only children but young adults as well as “kids at heart” of all ages. And these new programs and resources fit well with the interests of cosplayers who can utilize the equipment in library makerspaces such as 3D printers and sewing machines to create many of their props and costume pieces, as well as comics fans who can come to the library to read comics and graphic novel collections, video and board game enthusiasts who attend library gaming events, and geeks of all types who are drawn to “nerd nights”, Dr. Who marathons, and Harry Potter socials, etc.

I decided to start this blog, not only because I am a self-proclaimed geek, cosplayer, and comics reader and collector myself, but because this is a cutting-edge area of growth in libraries with significant appeal to today’s patrons. I think that there is much that we can do to expand and develop this type of programming and collection development. And I’m not alone. I’ve been joined by a talented group of international writers, librarians, information professionals, and library patrons to provide articles and inspiration to libraries seeking to incorporate cosplay, comics, and geek culture in their libraries!

Virginia county library system destroyed 250,000 of its own books | Yahoo! News Canada

The Fairfax County Public Library system in Virginia reportedly destroyed 250,000 books as part of an effort to revamp its system and cut costs.

The Washington Post reports that the books were discarded as part of a plan to reduce costs and bring the county’s library system into the digital age.

But in the past, discarded books were donated to a group called Friends of the Library, which would then donate them or sell them to raise money for the libraries, which have faced steep budget cuts in recent years. This time, seven months went by with no books going to the group — and no explanation why.

See the full story: Virginia county library system destroyed 250,000 of its own books | The Sideshow | Yahoo! News Canada.

GLBTI Fiction: Opening the Fiction Closet | Library Journal

Prior to World War II, GLBTI literature was hidden, with knowledge of its existence largely known only to members of the community, who shared texts among themselves. Occasionally a work of fiction would find its way into general circulation, but the books typically resorted to coded inferences of desire or served as warnings against the danger and immorality of homosexuality. This pattern continued until the 1969 Stonewall riot, which is largely accepted as the beginning of the GLBTI rights movement. The last three decades of the 20th century saw the establishment of GLBTI presses, bookstores, awards, and reading and book clubs, as well as literary festivals, writers’ conferences, and professional organizations. The closet was open, and the GLBTI community had found its voice.

Collection development and readers’ advisory (RA) staff can take advantage of a unique opportunity for professional growth by acquainting themselves with the widely dispersed sources of information about GLBTI literature. The task of identifying worthy contemporary purchases is best accomplished by consulting awards and recommended reading lists.

See the full article (which includes a longish list of recommended GLBTI fiction): via GLBTI Fiction: Opening the Fiction Closet | Library Journal.

The Digital Shift | Librarian Cites ‘Concerning’ Trends in Digital Collection Development

Librarian Cites ‘Concerning’ Trends in Digital Collection Development – The Digital Shift.

GTA Technology Topics, Tips and Tricks: Comics in the Library, E-Comics

Today’s post is focused on comics. Disclaimer: I know next to nothing about comics or graphic novels so please forgive me for begin a total noob. I came across a Marvel announcement that I thought would be of interest to some of you SLISters that precipitated writing a GTA email on this topic.

The recent announcement by Marvel mentioned that the company will be including a code for downloading the *free* digital copy within every top-selling physical comic book purchased (those priced at $3.99).  Here is an article by Fast Company’s expert blogger Rob Salkowitz, questioning whether Marvel’s Digital Comic Book Shift “Will Fly” published March 12, 2012.  Note that there have been previous announcements by other comic book companies (such as DC Comics) previously regarding shifting to digital, so the announcement by Marvel is not that unique…excepting codes for downloading the *free* digital versions. Interesting times.

So, I was thinking, what are the reasons that libraries do not collect comic books?  Pricing and acquisition, difficult to catalog, collection development and management concerns, theft concerns. Do comics offer no learning or educational opportunities? Others reasons?? Some commentary on this very issue: Egads! Comics! In the Library!

Maybe with the announcement by Marvel, and the development of e-comic databases, more libraries will explore offering e-comic collections to their users (as an extension to currently offered graphic novel collections). Then again, I could see libraries getting out of offering any e-content at all to patrons due to pricing, licensing and availability issues, etc.

Here is a link from the University of Florida listing US university libraries with physical comic book holdings.

Library of Congress: Comic Books

British Comics Collection

If you are interested in graphic novels/comics in libraries I came across this 2010 resource, which is a holding of the University of Alberta RHSS Library. Graphic novels and comics in libraries and archives: essays on readers, research, history and cataloging by Robert Weiner.

Ok, I think I have just proposed a great research project for one of you!