|Welcome 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, and more.
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.
Executive EditorEllyssa is the Director of Information Technology at the New York Law Institute as well as an award-winning editor and author of 35 books including her latest book Cosplay in Libraries: How to Embrace Costume Play in Your Library. She is a librarian, an adjunct faculty member at Pratt Institute and Drexel University, and an international conference speaker. Check out her professional portfolio or Amazon author page.
She's also an avid cosplayer and has appeared on the Cake Boss TV show as well as in the official music video for New York Comic Con and many other events. Her cosplay portfolio can be found here. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alex Byrne is a Youth Services Librarian with the Pierce County Library System, stationed at University Place, WA When not helping people with their technology issues or telling stories to young children and their parents in fleece pajamas, he is extolling the virtues of library cards, promoting off-the-beaten-path books to readers, and trying to find new cool things to do and promote. Contact him by email at email@example.com or @HeofHIshirts on Twitter.
is the Collection Development Librarian at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, TX. She is an active member of the Texas Library Association where she took part in the 2015's Program Planning Committee. She has presented at the Southwest Popular Culture Association on topics on hip hop, literature, and television. When not busy with work, you can find Amanda writing, painting, walking her dog, catching up on Netflix, or involved in social media for all things pop culture.
Amy Dittmeier is a former Chicagoan who left her hometown to pursue her MLIS at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her life is now full of textbooks and paper writing as she works towards her dream of opening up a comic book archive in the Midwest. Before entering graduate school, she ran the pop culture website HEAVEmedia, where she acted as an editor and produced her own podcast, Pocket Protectors. When she’s not studying, Amy enjoys reading comic books, making new characters for D&D games she doesn't have time to play, working on cosplay (see her latest projects here), and binge playing video games. She can be found on Tumblr here.
Andy Shuping is a former academic librarian and current student working on his MFA in Applied Cartooning at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, VT. His goal is to help the community (librarians, educators, businesses, health care professionals, etc.) connect to the comics and graphic novel community, and vice versa. He has over 8 years experience working with comics and graphic novels, over 8 years experience as a professional librarian, a background in education, and a strong understanding of how comics and graphic novels help promote diverse learning styles. He can be found at ashuping.net
Calliope Woods works with teens at an urban Kentucky library by day, and writes by night. An avid fan of podcasts, anime, horror and more, she can be contacted at CalliopeWoods@gmail.com, or through her many social media accounts including Tumblr, Pinterest, and others.
Carli Spina is an emerging technologies and research librarian at an academic library. She is a big fan of graphic novels, young adult and children's literature, and popular culture and writes about these topics for several blogs including the Horn Book's Lolly's Classroom blog and YALSA's The Hub blog. You can find her on Twitter as @CarliSpina or on her website at http://carlispina.com
Chantale is the Youth Services Librarian for Keshen Goodman Public Library in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. She graduated with her MLIS from Western University in 2013, and has also worked as a Teen Librarian for Lethbridge Public Library and as a Reference Librarian for the Government of Canada. Her love affair with anime started in 1997 with Sailor Moon on YTV, and she is still an avid Moonie today. She also loves Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, World of Warcraft and many, many YouTubers. She can be found on GoodReads here.
Christian is a Library Assistant at the Roseville Public Library located in Northern California. When he isn’t helping customers with technology and circulation or working on his Public Relations degree, he is spending time with his wife and his dog, Padmé. He enjoys comics, film, television, writing, technology, beer, and many other portions of geek culture. You can see some of his other writings on his website where he writes about culture (and pretty much anything else he deems interesting), an upcoming podcast called “Follow This Podcast” where you can hear original serialized stories of varying genres, or his upcoming debut novel. Follow him on Twitter, Google+, and his website to stay up-to-date on these projects.
Christie Gibrich found that aerospace engineering was not the right career path for her, and has been happily working with teens and tweens around the DFW Metroplex since moving there in 2001. She’s been on several committees, written numerous articles, and has spoken at state and national conferences on both QUILTBAG and comic/geek topics. Her pathway to geekdom and fangirl was basically predetermined having grown up surrounded by computers and sci-fi, and she now happily enjoys the worlds of comics, SuperWhoLock, Disnerds, midnight releases, and passionate debates over originals vs reboots. She’s an agent on Teen Services Underground, the co-founder of Genre[Queer]y, and blogs at A Geek in Librarian’s Clothing. She tweets at @mz_christie and dabbles on Instagram and Tumblr.
Cynthia Mitchem is a Teen Librarian at a Massachusetts public library--she's also a total geek. It is proof that libraries are the coolest places in the world that she is allowed to--even paid to--run geeky programs every month for teens. She can be contacted at cmitchem @ minlib.net , or you can visit her library's website at http://www.belmont.lib.ma.us/teen-center-home .
Elizabeth Willse is an academic librarian and the author of the book Using Tablets and Apps in Libraries. She tweets @ewillse and blogs about books, librarianship and pop culture at Surrounded by Books.
An avid reader, writer, and a lover of anything geeky, Gloria Romano balances her time with work, gaming, and entertainment. She is a children’s librarian at the Peninsula Public Library in Lawrence, New York, where she develops programs for toddlers and researches the newest trends in children’s literature. Along with Cosplay, Comics, and Geek Culture in Libraries, she also writes for No Flying, No Tights and is an active member of the Nassau County Library Association’s Pop Culture Committee. On some occasions, you may find her writing whatever pops into her head, especially a line of poetry or a scene of fiction, or absorbed in a book.
Heather is a Youth Services Librarian for the Flower Mound Public Library in Flower Mound, TX. When she's not arguing over which Doctor is the best (it's totally the 10th), she's frantically binge watching Netflix to keep up with the monthly fandom program she runs for teens or scoping out the new teen fiction that she's ordered for the collection. She loves tabletop games and is always looking for any excuse to play, so much so that Once Upon a Time and Gloom are regular staples of her teen writing program. It's her mission to create as many Whovians and Whedonites as she can (and to find that perfect book for each teen who comes looking).
Heela Naqshband is the Social Media Librarian for Henderson Libraries in Southern Nevada (next door to Vegas!). Having worked as an Adult Services Librarian prior to this, she knows that grown-ups are just big kids and want to have fun, too! During the day, she’s extoling the awesomeness of the library, but at night she can be found going to punk rock shows, fangirling over Game of Thrones, raising two of the most amazing kids around, and working on various creative projects with her husband, including an independent record label. Hit her up at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Pinterest or Instagram.
Jessikah graduated with her MLS from The Palmer School of Library Science and has been working at the Syosset Public Library as a children’s librarian since 2003. She enthusiastically developed a children’s graphic novel collection for her library and enjoys developing programs around some of her favorite titles. As a child, Jessikah grew up on a healthy diet of Matsumoto, Toriyama and whatever anime series she could find. She often had a hard time deciding if she would prefer to be recruited as a Mahou Shoujo (Magical Girl) or a Gundam Pilot, a debate that still plagues her to this very day. If she could have any power it would definitely be telekinesis. Jessikah is a regular reviewer at No Flying No Tights.
Jonathan Dolce is currently the Branch Supervisor of Astor County Library in Astor, Florida. Since 1993, Jonathan's volunteered and worked for several Central Florida libraries. When he was at City Island Library in Daytona Beach, he convinced the young adult librarian to add his collection of comics to the library's circulating collection. Later, he continued this project at Deltona Regional Library, where the collection grew thanks to a cooperative with the UPS Store. Additionally, he created the county's first comic book newsletter for librarians as well as the county's only young adult dvd collection, loaded with all manner of anime. Then, as head of Youth Services at Maitland Public Library, Jonathan created annual library events, like Free Comic Book Day, Star Wars Reads Day, and reached out to local libraries with teen programs like Dr. Whose Line Is It Anyway. While he's now in management, he still reads all the new young adult novels, graphic novels, and haunts his local comic book store. All-time favorite hero: Batman Favorite writers: Neil Gaiman, Jeph Loeb, Alan Moore and Brian Wood Favorite illustrators: Dave McKean; Riccardo Burchielli Favorite anime: Ghost in the Shell; Akira; Gunsmith Cats; El Hazard; Tenchi Muyo; Starblazers Favorite editor: Karen Berger Favorite painter: Gary Bolding
Kacy Helwick recently earned her MLIS from LSU and works as the youth collection development librarian at New Orleans Public Library. She has spent time as a band geek and a theatre geek, but now mostly geeks the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sam and Dean Winchester, all things Doctor Who, Teen Wolf, One Direction, and her forever fandom: Harry Potter.
Kathleen Gruver was in academe for years before she realized she was destined to be a librarian and hasn't looked back since. She is a YA librarian at a NJ library and is active in her state library association's YA services section, including a stint as section president. She is also a longtime reviewer for School Library Journal. When not organizing library fandom events, she is a sewer, a knitter, a horsewoman, and a dog agility trainer and competitor. She is a big fan of Wonder Woman and Axe Cop, and has frequent spirited discussions with her sons as to who was a better Joker, Jack Nicholson or Heath Ledger.
is a Youth Services/Emerging Technologies Librarian at the Hudson Library & Historical Society in Ohio. Being a huge geek herself, she currently runs her library’s anime and Minecraft clubs as well as orders the manga/graphic novels for her department. She is also a teen lit reviewer for School Library Journal. You can find her on Twitter (@libraryladykim) or on her blog (literarylibrariankim.blogspot.com).
Kylie Peters is a young adult librarian outside of Chicago. Some of her geek credits include collection development of video games, comics, and manga for teens and adults; founding and running a library anime club; and running regular gaming programming for teens. She is especially passionate about advocating for comics in libraries, particularly popular comics that are often overlooked by librarian review sources, such as those published by DC and Marvel. She will receive her masters degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois in May of 2014, with a specialty in services to youth and young adults. Kylie also writes for the YALSA Blogand the Den of Geek UK site.
Laura Giunta is a children’s librarian at Garden City Public Library. She is the Chair of the Nassau County Library Association’s Pop Culture Committee, which she helped found in June 2014; the committee is currently helping to organize the first annual Long Island Libraries and Pop Culture Conference, scheduled to be held at St. John’s University in April 2015. An avid fan of gaming, comics, and anime, she organized and moderated the panel “Beyond Harry Potter and Percy Jackson: Great Middle Grade and Tween Fantasy Books” at New York Comic Con 2013 and served as a speaker on the panel “Why Should I Let My Child Read Comics?” at New York Comic Con 2014. She is also the Recording Secretary for the Nassau County Library Association, a member of the New York Library Association’s Pop Culture Round Table, and a book reviewer for School Library Journal. She graduated from Hofstra University with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and from St. John’s University with a Master’s Degree in Library Science. She has been working at Garden City Public Library for the last five years.
Laura is a Reference Librarian and library webmaster at Dowling College. She is, in short, a librarian, a coder, anime fan, and a mom. She has presented on technology at regional and national conferences. She has also been on panels at New York ComicCon and L.I. PopCon. An anime fan for over 20 years, she is finally integrating that love into her work as a librarian and has written on creating an anime film collection in academic libraries. During her free time, she reads graphic novels with her sons, crafts with them, and tries to get back to her bookbinding. She dabbles with twitter @bibliocat5
Liz is the Teen Librarian at Dover Public Library in Dover, Ohio. She has an MLIS from Kent State University and a BA in English and Art from Muskingum University.She is a member of the Ohio Library Council and the American Libraries Association. When not planning fabulously geeky programs (Silent Library: Super Hero Edition anyone?), or helping patrons with technology, Liz likes to read, write, draw, crochet, and play Minecraft. She can be contacted at email@example.com. More information about her wonderful little library can be found on the website she helped design at www.doverlibrary.org.
Luis De Jesus is a big believer in the word HERO, Luis is no stranger to the exciting world of comic books. Having been brought up reading comics, starting with the adventures of Hal Jordan in green Lantern. Luis devotes himself to ensure countless others join in on the excitement of not only reading Green Lantern but other thrilling tales told in the comics medium. He can offer up in-depth recommendations with his collective knowledge of the comics. So if you’re curious about a certain book and are in need of information on a particular comic, just contact Luis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Marissa Lieberman is a children’s librarian at the East Orange Public Library in New Jersey. She graduated with her MLS from Queens College in 2011, and has worked part-time at various libraries in Nassau County, New York before moving to New Jersey. An anime fangirl for over thirteen years, Marissa is grateful to be able to share her passion with her library patrons by running the tween anime club and organizing Tosho-con, a full day anime and comic convention. Marissa has presented professionally about anime and manga; she is also a reviewer for Voices of Youth Advocates (VOYA), School Library Journal, and No Flying, No Tights. She created www.mangatizeyourlibrary.webs.com based on her experiences doing anime programming and manga collection development."
Martha is a youth services librarian, currently working at the Forest Park Public Library. She specializes in comics and graphic novels in the library world, and enjoys all facets of geek culture in her daily life. She's a regular con-goer, video game player, and toy collector, and is super excited to be able to contribute to Cosplay, Comics, and Geek Culture in Libraries.
Matt Upson is the Director for Library Undergraduate Services at Oklahoma State University. He has co-created multiple instructional comics for libraries and is currently working on a comic book guide to information literacy and research skills to be published by the University of Chicago Press in 2015. He has experimented with using photo comics in the classroom and has developed graphic novel collections for academic libraries. To learn more about Matt’s work, please contact him at email@example.com, visit http://info.library.okstate.edu/matt-upson or view his sporadically updated blog.
Matthew recently completed his MLIS at the University of British Columbia School of Library, Archival & Information Studies in Vancouver, Canada. He currently spends his time co-organizing the librarian-focused Book Club for Masochists, acting as webmaster for the BCLA Readers' Advisory Interest Group and ASIS&T's Digital Libraries special interest group, content editing for the graphic novel review site No Flying No Tights, and organizing gaming events and the Zine Pavilion for American Library Association conferences. He's the editor of the fiction anthology zine Two-Fisted Librarians, is really into Raspberry Pi computers and maker stuff in general, will happily drive your character insane in Call of Cthulhu, and is willing to talk about why libraries are bad at cataloguing graphic novels for basically forever (or until they get better at it).
Melissa Tees currently works as a Library Clerk in the Youth Department of the Southlake Public Library, where she constantly tries to incorporate her love of all things geeky into all the things. While earning her MLIS at UNT, Melissa spend the majority of her free time and money on cosplay. If there is ever an excuse to put on a costume, she will take it. Melissa's favorite fandoms include the almighty Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Firefly, and anything with Harley Quinn. If you want to chat her up, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Sarah Hall) has been a Young Adult librarian in the Washington County Utah Library System since 2001. Besides having a great time working with the teens, she helps maintain the graphic novel section which has over 300 titles in the collection. (That's titles, not volumes!) Along with her esteemed co-worker, Natalie Daniel, and the manga-ka Svetlana Chmkova, she presented at the 2012 Public Library Association National Conference on the importance of Graphic Novels in libraries and in developing literacy in teens and tweens and has given workshops in various locations and conferences in Utah on graphic novels, cosplaying, and social media. She has also been cosplaying for conventions for the past eleven years and has won awards for her costumes from San Diego Comic Con, Anime Los Angeles, Anime Vegas, Tokyopop, and other spots around the West. She loves reading, sewing, watching anime with her family, and wearing crazy things in large crowds of people.
Miss Molly traveled all the way to New Zealand in order to get her Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. She enjoys hands-on (and occasionally messy) science programs, very boisterous story times, rousing sing-a-longs, and serene yoga. When Miss Molly doesn’t have her nose in a book, she can be found hiking in the woods, climbing mountains, indulging her wanderlust, pursuing her foodie passions, and making horrible(ly awesome) puns. When she's not saving the world one book suggestion at a time, you can find her cavorting with superheroes in The Hero Army at comicons and up and down the east coast. (She's usually SuperGirl, Polaris, Wasp, or Harley Quinn). If you see her, say hi!
Sara Sellers is an Adult Services Librarian in the DeKalb County Public Library System. Her love affair with geek materials started with Yuu Watase’s Fushigi Yugi and exploded into a lifelong hobby which just so happened to lead into a career with libraries. When she is not helping patrons find reading materials and teaching patron classes she is obsessively reading Manga, binge watching Anime, harassing her various pets a.k.a. fur babies, and being an active spear woman in Dagorhir a LARP (Live Action Role Play) that features full contact foam fighting. While not super active in the geek community, she hopes to remedy that starting with CCGC in Libraries and working on geek programs for adults in her system.
Sean McGrath, who prefers the title "Geek Culture Aficionado" to "President of The GeekERIE", is nevertheless President of The GeekERIE, a literacy non-profit that promotes learning through immersion in the creative process and which also hosts geeky events like 24 Hour Comics Day, Kristmas with Krampus, Eerie Nights Theatre and Erie Library Comic Con, where Sean promises that there will never be a cheese platter in sight. Buy him a few strawberry margaritas and he'll tell you things that are best left secret.
SELENIA PAZ spends a lot of her time working at a library surrounded by awesome books, and uses the rest of her time to read, write, and run with her dogs. She loves history, science, comics, and video games, and hopes to one day be able to create her own superhero. You can find her at twitter.com/seleniapaws or at noonvale.blogspot.com, where she sometimes posts up program ideas.
Shannin Bailey is a Reference Librarian in central Ohio. She considers herself a “geek’s geek,” and when she’s not explaining River Song’s timeline or why the Winter Soldier isn’t a villain, she’s a passionate advocate for promoting geek culture in public libraries through both programming and reader’s advisory. She’s presented professionally on Making Movies in Libraries, Using Facebook with Teen Advisory Groups, and Fandoms. She has a BA in English from The Ohio State University, and an MLIS from Kent State University. You can find her on Twitter (@shanninb), Tumblr and Instagram (@shanninb)
Thomas Maluck is a teen services librarian at Richland Library in Columbia, South Carolina. After graduating with his MLIS in 2010 from the University of South Carolina, he knew he wanted to go into either virtual services or teen services, and found a happy medium engaging teens via technology and the endless ride that is pop culture. He has presented at various fan-culture and professional conventions about graphic novels, manga, and teen services, including the American Library Association's Annual and Midwinter conferences, DragonCon, NashiCon, and New York Comic Con. He served on YALSA's Great Graphic Novels For Teens committee for its 2014 and 2015 lists, and has published articles in Library Trends, Public Libraries, and The Hub. He currently reviews for No Flying, No Tights and regularly blogs comic recommendations on Richland Library's website here.
Todd Burleson is the Resource Center Director at Hubbard Woods Elementary School in Winnetka, IL. He is a visual artist and aspiring children's author. When he isn't working with students to find the perfect fit book, he's probably overseeing them as they think, make and improve their projects in the IDEA Lab. You can read all about his adventures as an elementary school librarian on his blog: http://azenlibrarian.blogspot.com/
While waiting impatiently for Sherlock to return, Valerie works as a librarian at the Bellmore Memorial Library on Long Island. She pursues her pop culture obsessions in a socially acceptable manner by planning all-day fandom celebrations, converting unsuspecting patrons into Whovians, writing for a host of geeky publications, and speaking on pop culture-related issues at area comic cons and library conventions. In her spare time, Valerie overanalyzes the Saga graphic novel series, binge-reads steampunk mysteries, and bemoans the unjust cancellation of Firefly.