Librarians Promoting Reading @ New York Comic Con
Loida Garcia-Febo and JP Porcaro talk about promoting reading at the 2011 New York Comic Con.
Tags: ALA GameRT Games and Gaming Round Table Reading Games Gamers Libraries
Added: 9 months ago
[scene opens at the New York Comic Con with a poster featuring Vertigo's Dream and the caption "A book is a dream that you hold in your hand", then cut to two librarians speaking directly to the camera]
LOIDA: Hello everyone, we're here at New York Comic Con 2011, and I'm here with JP Porcaro, and it is very important for librarians to be here because we are promoting reading through aids, graphic novels and manga and all these type of collections. They are really good for our customers, public libraries, academic libraries, school libraries. But JP is the chair of the very new and hot, uh ...
JP: Games and gaming roundtable!
LOIDA: Games and gaming roundtable!
JP: GameRT, GameRT!
LOIDA: So, um, JP ... Why is it important for ALA, for librarians, to be in New York for Comic Con?
JP: Okay, there's a couple things about Comic Con. First of all, it's one of the largest events that go on in this city. It's the largest pop-culture event on the East Coast, right? So just there on the library advocacy issue, just having a presence at something like that, is good, y'know? Raising awareness, right? Second thing, though, just like you were saying, last year I was saying all the time, they're called "comic books" for a reason, right? So libraries are about books, first! We do all great things, lots of terrific things, but one of our core brands is books, man! And so, to be at an event that is celebrating book culture in a really non-traditional way, is a real fabulous way for the ALA and all librarians to be involved in this kinda thing.
[cut to another shot of Loida and JP]
LOIDA: So that's one of the good things for librarians to come out to these types of events. Get out of the libraries and promote reading and all of our values. And now, uh, any final words?
JP: Yeah ... No, y'know, I actually wanna shout out Reed Expo, who runs this for, like, really supporting what we're about. So, y'know, as cool as everything is going on, we still have, y'know, a really great presence and that's actually, I mean, I gotta shout out to ALA. They do a lot of terrific work. If you're not an ALA member, absolutely think about joining the association.
[Loida points to her "Read" badge]
JP: And also, y'know like, keep reading!
LOIDA: Yes, read! We are promoting reading, walking around with our really cool pins! Well, that's all everyone!
Librarians stood in lines that stretched 10 blocks around New York City's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center to find out the latest in comics, graphic novels, anime, and manga at the 2011 New York Comic Con.
The four-day event, from October 13 to 16, drew more than 100,000 comic enthusiasts, who packed the center's aisles to buy comic collectibles and preview the latest in this hot genre. But for librarians, the goal was to talk to industry leaders about the future of digital access to comics and explore streamlined methods for purchasing video games.
With the growing number of digital comics and graphic novels now available to readers in different formats and on a variety of platforms, Michael Maziekien (right), the head of reference at New Jersey's Rockaway Township Free Public Library, along with David Lisa (left), a consultant at the New Jersey State Library and graphic novelist specialist, led a program on "Digital Comics & Libraries. "Their focus? Whether digital comics would replace traditional comics and graphic novels. "There's a whole generation of people, especially digital natives, who've grown up around technology, that prefer reading comics on iPads and other tablet devices," Lisa says. "It's simple: print can't survive in an economy where people don't prefer it."
But at the same time, he says print isn't going away. "It's possible digital and print will coexist, but if comic book publishing is strained now, what's it going to be like when most customers are digital natives?"
Maziekien says more libraries across the country were expanding their ebook offerings to bring content to more patrons. ABDO publishers and comiXology.com, a provider of digital comics, were highlighted as two companies that serve the library market. In 2010, digital comics grew by 1,000 percent to more than $7 million, while graphic novels experienced a 20 percent decline. During that time, about 66 percent of public libraries provided ebook access and that number is expected to grow.
Gaming was another hot topic explored in programs and on the convention floor. Activision's Skylanders comiccon.2(Original Import)Spryo's Adventure, a new video game created by Toy Story writers, Alec Sokolow and Joel Cohen, drew interest from more than 100 youngsters from the Children's Aid Society, a nonprofit organization that provides education services to underserved kids throughout New York City. Kids were treated to a special preview of the game, in which players embark on a fantastical journey into an amazing world while on a quest to save their world from Kaos, an evil Portal Master, who they must defeat.
Meanwhile, the difficulties that libraries face acquiring videogames was addressed in "Video Game Collection Development for Libraries." Led by J.P. Porcaro, a virtual services librarian at New Jersey City University and chair of the steering committee that created the new ALA Games and Gaming Roundtable, the program focused on the lack of information on how to build and maintain video game collections-and where to buy them. The issues discussed were the inclusion of older games in loanable collections, the educational and recreational value of game collections, the important role game collections will play in the future of libraries, and how to maintain the quality and relevance of game collections.
Raising eyebrows from the audience, panelist Megan Kociolek, a children's and youth services librarian at New Jersey's Nutley Public Library, said she often purchased video games for her library from Amazon using her library's corporate credit card. In response, audience member Bacilio Mendez, a librarian and student at New York Law School, questioned whether it was an illegal practice since most libraries should make these purchases from an authorized vendor due to licensing agreements and copyright infringement issues. "I found the lack of knowledge around the legal issues that librarians should be aware of...very concerning," Mendez says.
The issue of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) teens was addressed in the program "It Gets Better (With Comics)," moderated by Chris Shoemaker, a New York Public Library young adult programming specialist.
In an effort to make comics with positive LGBT characters more widely available to teens, panelist Rica Takashima, creator of Rica 'tte Kanji (ALC, 2005), plans to make her book available for free online. It scott.14(Original Import)features a lesbian college student looking for friendship in Tokyo. Charles "Zan" Christiansen also plans to make copies of his anti-bullying book, The Power Within (Northwest, 2011), available for free to schools and libraries that contact him.
Despite the convention hall's Halloween-themed atmosphere, librarians were treated to familiar faces signing books for fans. Scott Westerfeld (left) was at the Simon & Schuster booth autographing Goliath (S&S, 2011), the final installment in his Leviathan steampunk trilogy. And Raina Telgemeirer was signing Nursery Rhyme Comics (First Second, 2011), a collection of familiar rhymes drawn by a collection of comic artists, including Jules Feiffer and George O'Connor.