Librarians Love Graphic Novels at ALA Annual

The American Library Association hosts many conferences, meetings, forums, institutes, and other events throughout the year to support and expand resources for librarians nationwide. One of the most widely attended conferences is the ALA Annual Conference held every summer.

This year, ALA Annual hosted a robust Graphic Novels Pavilion with publishers providing hundreds of ARC's and other giveaways promoting upcoming titles for the rest of year and into 2018. Along with publisher displays, graphic novel panels were a must-see event for several librarians as professionals in the comics industry, including publishers, creators, and librarians, provided a variety of resources for both communities looking to start their graphic novel sections and for those who are looking to expand. 

For graphic novel lovers and those interested in bringing the popular format into their communities, ALA Annual was an oasis of information. For those unable to attend ALA Annual this year, BookShelf has provided a list of highlights outlining the various activities of the weekend, and it can be viewed in full below. With the overwhelming amount of graphic novel and gaming activities available during ALA, you can jump to individual topics of interest using the links below. 

Image Comics | Comics for Teens Panel | Oni Press | Panel Overviews | Starfinder Demo | Publisher Booths 

Image Comics marks their 25th Anniversary this year, and celebrated this milestone with the librarians present at ALA Annual with their Image Comics 25th Anniversary Celebration panel. Comic creators (left to right) Ryan Browne, Jim Rugg, Gregg Schigiel, Tim Seeley, Marjorie Liu, & Skottie Young spoke about their experience of Image Comics throughout the years & reflect on how the Image has impacted their own career. Exploring their inspirations, telling stories about how they were affected by their industry role models, discussing upcoming titles, and touching on specifics about Image and how comics have evolved were just some of the things the panel went over. 

With overwhelming attendance, the Graphic Novel/Gaming Stage was standing room only during the Image panel, and librarians in attendance participated in a raffle and short signing afterwards as a thank you from Image Comics for librarian support.

Comics for Everyone! was hosted by Image Comics and featured creators (left to right) Gregg Shiegel, Skottie Young, Marjorie Liu, & Jim Rugg. The panel was dedicated to celebrating the independent spirit and creator-owned ethos in graphic novel publishing before holding a Q&A with the audience. Each perspective creator talked about how comics helped shape the way they absorb the world around them, and the importance of having a variety of mediums and formats to read from especially during their developmental years. Engaging the audience with their personal anecdotes as well as exploring what it means to have graphic novels accessible in libraries for both developing readers and mature readers were highlights of this panel.


Image Comics Library Market Sales Representative moderated a panel with Image Comics creator Marjorie Liu to discuss the second volume of her best-selling graphic novel Monstress during the A Monstress Discussion with Author Marjorie Liu panel. Here, Liu discussed the inspiration behind Monstress, how she stays on task with each story, the importance of creator-owned stories to both the author and the reader, and took questions from the audience about her upcoming second volume. After the panel, a raffle was held to give five attendees a signed copy of Monstress Volume 1 and Monstress Volume 2 before its release.


Lion Forge Senior Editor, Andrea Colvin, moderated the Comics for Teens: Discovery in the Library featuring librarians, authors, and publishers discussing aiding teens and YA readers in discovering comics/YA graphic novels. The panel took particular care to focus on how libraries can engage their teen and young adult communities rather than exploring whether comics and graphic novels were a necessary feature in the library. With the rise of this genre, librarians were able to ask questions during the panel to gain insight into how these kinds of titles can be successful in their library and how they can open the door to other types of reading by teens and young adult readers.


Oni Press Editor (Letter 44, Invader Zim, Space Battle Lunchtime) Robin Herrera presented a robust list of upcoming graphic novels from Oni Press for the rest of 2017 and the beginning of 2018. Providing librarians with preview pages, top titles releasing from Oni Press include: Tea Dragon Society (all-age, Sept 2017), The Altered History of Willow Sparks (young adult, Jan 2017), Kill Them All (adult, Sept 2017), Not Drunk Enough (older teens, July 2017), Night's Dominion (older teen/adult, June 2017), and Brik (young adult, June 2017). 


Librarians Receive Exclusive STARFINDER Demo During ALA Annual

Paizo Inc. provides EXCLUSIVE pre-release demo of upcoming STARFINDER table-top role-playing game with Tanya Woolbridge. Hosting the game both during ALA Annual's Gaming 101 night on Friday as well as at the Gaming Lounge in the Graphic Novel Pavilion from Friday-Sunday, patrons were able to experience the new sci-fi fantasy world of STARFINDER

The Starfinder Core Rulebook (978-1-60125-956-1, $59.99) will release in August from Paizo during GENCON. Check out the description for the game below:

This massive 560-page hardcover rule book is the essential centerpiece of the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, with rules for character creation, magic, gear, and more—everything you need to play Starfinder as either a player or Game Master! The next great adventure in science-fantasy role-playing takes off here, and the Starfinder Core Rulebook is your ticket to a lifetime of adventure amid the stars!

The Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries Reception

Sponsored by Diamond Book Distributors and funded by the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation, the Will Eisner Graphic Novels Grants for Libraries feature two annual grants: the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Growth Grant which is provided to support a library that would like to expand its existing graphic novels services and programs, and the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Innovation Grant which provides support to a library for the initiation of a graphic novel service, program, or initiative.

The 2017 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Growth Grant was awarded to the Colorado State Library of Denver, Colorado. To support their project "Where There is Art, There Is Hope: Graphic Novels and Literacy at the Sterling Correctional Facilities Libraries," the Colorado State Library plans to allow a new teacher to travel to Sterling, Colorado to enrich their LEAD (Literacy Education in Adult Detention) with comics curriculum at the Sterling Correctional Facility (SCF) Libraries, encouraging literacy and reducing recidivism.

The 2017 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Innovation Grant is presented to the Institute of American Indian Arts of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Their project "Giving Voices to Our Stories: Fostering the Growth of Future Indigenous Graphic Novelists" aims to foster the growth of future indigenous graphic novel creators and further diversify the voices represented in visual narrative through development.

The reception took place Saturday, June 24th from 6pm - 8pm in the Columbus AB Room at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, and was attended by librarians, publishers, and other industry professionals to honor the recipients of this year's grants. 

For more photos of our publishers and other ALA activities, see below:

Diamond BookShelf Diamond Book Distributors
Diamond BookShelf Diamond BookShelf
Image Comics  Image Comics
Lion Forge Oni Press
Dynamite Entertainment Valiant Entertainment
Paizo Inc. Action Lab Entertainment
Rabbit Publishers / Harry Moon Tokyopop
Udon Entertainment


Monstress Volume 2: The Blood Monstress Volume 2: The Blood
Image Comics
Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900's Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power. >>
Saga Volume 7 Saga Volume 7
Image Comics
From the worldwide bestselling team of FIONA STAPLES and BRIAN K. VAUGHAN, “The War for Phang” is an epic, self-contained SAGA event! Finally reunited with her ever-expanding family, Hazel travels to a war-torn comet that Wreath and Landfall have been battling over for ages. >>
Bloodborne Official Artworks Bloodborne Official Artworks
Udon Entertainment
In the terrifying video game Bloodborne, deranged mobs and nightmarish creatures lurk around every corner of a horror-filled gothic city. Bloodborne: Official Artworks collects the hair-raising artwork behind this modern action role-playing classic.  >>
Walking Dead Volume 27: The Whisperer War Walking Dead Volume 27: The Whisperer War
Image Comics
The time has come. The forces are aligning. The war has begun! Has Rick brought about the demise of everything he's built? Or will he triumph once again? Know this... there will be a cost. Collects THE WALKING DEAD #157-162. >>
Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide Volume 47 Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide Volume 47
Gemstone Publishing
One of the most influential comic book artists ever, Jim Steranko, brings his compelling mastery of the art form to the cover of the book that has been the Bible of serious collectors, dealers and enthusiasts since 1970!  >>
Rick and Morty Volume 1 Rick and Morty Volume 1
Oni Press
Based on the hilarious animated show RICK & MORTY by Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, depraved genius Rick Sanchez embarks on insane adventures with his awkward grandson Morty across the universe and across time. >>
Providence Act 1 Providence Act 1
Avatar Press
Alan Moore’s quintessential horror series has set the standard for a terrifying examination of the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Providence Act 1 Hard Cover edition that contains Providence issues #1-4. >>
Snotgirl Volume 1: Green Hair Don't Care Snotgirl Volume 1: Green Hair Don't Care
Image Comics
WHO IS LOTTIE PERSON? Is she a gorgeous, fun-loving social media star with a perfect life or a gross, allergy-ridden mess? Enter a world of snot, blood, and tears in this first collection from New York Times Best Seller BRYAN LEE O’MALLEY (Scott Pilgrim, Seconds) and dazzling newcomer LESLIE HUNG! >>
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Core Rulebook Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Core Rulebook
This complete standalone fantasy roleplaying game takes your fantasy campaigns to new heights of adventure! Backward-compatible with the 3.5 fantasy rules but offering new solutions and options that place it firmly on the cutting edge. >>