1. Cleveland Library to Unveil Harvey Pekar Statue

    October 5, 2012 by lindsay

    On October 14, the Lee Road branch of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library will be unveiling a bronze Harvey Pekar statue. According to Comics Alliance, Pekar’s widow, Joyce Brabner, decided to start a Kickstarter to fund the statue to raise awareness for comics as a literary artform.

    Before his death, Pekar spent a lot of his time at this library branch. At 2pm, October 14, there will be a statue and plaque dedication ceremony followed by a presentation by JT Waldman who collaborated with Pekar on his posthumously released book Not The Israel My Parents Promised Me. The book, which was released this summer, will be for sale at the ceremony.

  2. My New Jobs

    August 31, 2012 by lindsay

    This fall I will be starting two new jobs that combine my interests in art, comics and libraries.

    First, I am very excited to be starting a job at The Beguiling and Little Island Comics as a Library Services Coordinator. The Beguiling is a 25-year-old comic shop in Toronto that focuses on underground and avant-garde work while also carrying a wide variety of superhero, manga and mainstream comics. Its library services department sells comics and graphic novels to libraries and my job will be to manage customer accounts for school and public libraries, advise librarians as to what comics will work for their patrons and be a resource and advocate for comics as a key component of contemporary library collections. Library services is based out of The Beguiling’s kids comic store, Little Island Comics, and there I will also share books with kids and help out with special events such as author in-stores and comic workshops. While I’m already enthusiastic about graphic novels, in this position I will be learning a lot more about kids comics, manga and comic collection development.

    I will also be back at OCADU’s Dorothy H. Hoover Library, helping students to find research materials and, I hope, sharing books and zines with them through the reading club I started last year. OCADU has just joined the Ask a Librarian program, so once a week I will be online answering questions while I help people at the library’s reference desk.

    Alternative media in libraries is one of my main interests. I feel very lucky that through both of these positions I will have the opportunity to share comics, zines and art with librarians, kids and students.


  3. A Library Tourist – the humble beginnings

    August 17, 2012 by lindsay

    In the spring of 2001, I was living in Melbourne, Australia, studying journalism at RMIT University. When my boyfriend (now husband) came to visit me, one of the first places I took him was the State Library of Victoria — a large, stately library across from the university’s campus.

    Within only a few months of living in another country, the library had become a familiar place I liked to visit. Even now it is central to my memories of Melbourne, and not just for its book borrowing, event offering and indoor space providing functions.

    Protest marches were a weekly occurrence amongst the crowd I ran with, and the large lawn outside of the library was a prime location for us to gather and make some announcements before moving along to protest globalization outside of the Nike store (seriously, the Nike protests happened every Friday) or to make posters before we marched all around the city with a police escort to celebrate International Women’s Day.

    According to the history of the library on the library’s website: “When the Library opened in 1856 a picket fence surrounded the lawn… [and] Library visitors entered the grounds through a gate on Swanston Street before climbing the stairs to the wooden front door that is still the main entrance.” In 1939 the fence was removed and the lawn is an open space accessible to all visitors.

    The library covers a whole city block on Swanston Street from Little Lonsdale to La Trobe Streets, and is made up of 23 buildings. When I was there it was neighboured by a large skate park managed by the YMCA. The skate park was another key memory for me because there weren’t very many skate parks back home in Toronto and I was impressed at the large scale of the park and felt it was a symbol that Melbourne was trying to give public space to its youth. Today the skate park is gone and has been replaced by a shopping/apartment complex. The one Australian contact I kept in touch with when I moved back to Canada tells me that the complex is called QV (short for Queen Victoria) because it was formerly the site of the Queen Victoria Women’s Hospital.

    One of the most striking aspects of the library, that still sticks in my mind, was a piece of art on the street out front. The art depicted a corner of a library building sticking out of the sidewalk which I always called “The Sinking Library.” Created by Dutch artist Petrus Spronk and entitled “Architectural Fragment,” the piece was commissioned for the Swanston Street Walk Public Art Project in 1992 and is actually meant to depict the library rising out of the ground, like an unearthed archeological find.

    I suppose I wasn’t really a tourist in Melbourne. I was a newcomer trying to find my bearings in a new city. And the library helped me to feel at home.



  4. A Queer Archive

    August 10, 2012 by lindsay

    During the Canadian Library Association National Conference and Tradeshow in Ottawa this past June, I met Chatham-Kent Public Library Board member, Mark Reinhart, who was on a panel discussing how to reach LGBTQ audiences in libraries.

    An artist as well as a library board member, Mark was on the panel along with Chatham-Kent Public Library’s public services coordinator Tania Sharpe to discuss their project A Queer Archive, an archive of LGBTQ material that is as much an art installation as it is a mobile library.

    Mark and I have kept in touch post-conference and he will be bringing the archive to Toronto on October 21st for the zine fair I organize, Canzine.

    You can read more about the archive in an article Alison Lang wrote for the newest issue of Broken Pencil, which just hit newsstands this week.

  5. My Feliciter Debut

    August 2, 2012 by lindsay

    For the past week I have been on a trip through New Brunswick and P.E.I. checking out the beautiful scenery, delicious seafood and various neighbourhood libraries. Upon my return to Toronto I noticed that a digital version of the Canadian Library Association’s Feliciter was released featuring a few articles I wrote during my time as a Student to CLA for the CLA conference in Ottawa this June.

    This is the first electronic-only edition of the magazine. A double page spread of conference attendees in this issue includes a photo of me and two of my fellow Students to CLA (Jessica Thorlakson from the University of Alberta and Kathryn Alexander from Université de Montréal) as well as a great photo of Andrea Siemens (children’s librarian for Cambridge Libraries and Galleries) using puppets to explain why librarian’s values are not outdated. Click here to view the digital edition.

    Stay tuned for a report on my experience as a library tourist in New Brunswick.

  6. Zines an Emerging Trend in Librarianship

    July 13, 2012 by lindsay

    photo courtesy of OCADU's Learning Zone

    My dream job is to be a zine librarian.

    My original dream job was to be a journalist who wrote about zines. That came true in 2006 when I got the job editing Broken Pencil magazine. But in 2009 — after writing about film for various magazines for years (that was another dream job) — I decided that journalism just wasn’t fulfilling me anymore. I had already achieved all my goals in that field, and I could no longer think of anything to strive for. Then it hit me: I wanted to be a librarian.

    Because I had been working with the Toronto Reference Library on its zine collection (which was started in part by Broken Pencil), and because I had given a number of talks to high school and post secondary students about zines, I realized that teaching people about zines (and the many great things that come along with zines such as social justice, political awareness, literacy and self esteem) was what I wanted to be doing.

    For the uninitiated, zines (pronounced zeens) are independent publications made by individuals or collectives to share their views. There are no rules around making zines, so they can take any form imaginable and can be on any subject. The variety and unstructured nature of zines makes them both useful to libraries (in part because they document local communities in a way no other medium does), but it also makes them difficult to catalogue.

    In 2010 I started studying at the University of Toronto’s iSchool and am now a recent MI (LIS) graduate in Toronto looking for a job. While in “library school” I focused on zines as much as possible, creating a zine collection at a student-run library on campus, helping the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCADU) to choose online cataloguing software to make its collection searchable, starting a book club at OCADU that integrated zines into the reading choices, and giving talks at libraries, schools and conferences about how zines can be used as literacy and teaching tools. So I was happy to see Kevin Coleman over at Hack Library School estimating that zines are an emerging career in librarianship. In his piece, Coleman articulates what Broken Pencil and zine makers everywhere have been advocating for years: that we must not forget the innovation that still occurs in print during this digital revolution.

    Next week I am speaking to a Readers’ Advisory class about zines and their potential uses in public libraries. In addition to talking about what a zine is, how to find them and how to start a zine collection in a library, I will be discussing how zines can be used not only to educate but to empower readers to create. A zine collection in a library can serve as a launching pad for programming for teens and young adults such as zine writing workshops, zine reading and making clubs, public zine readings and more.

    I realize that I’m not about to land a job entitled “zine librarian” anytime soon (or maybe ever), but I hope that in whatever library I end up, I will have the opportunity to pitch and develop a zine library and create programming to attract and engage new patrons.

    P.S. Celebrate Zine Library Day on July 21st!

    Some Resources for Zine Librarians:

    ALA’s Zines in Libraries panel (which includes a zine on building a zine collection)

    Zine Librarian Yahoo! Group

    Zine Libraries Interest Group

    Bartel, J. (2004). From A to Zine: Building a Winning Zine Collection in your Library. Chicago: American Library Association.

    Zine Librarian Zine

    Zine Librarian Group on We Make Zines (a social media space for zine makers)

  7. Comic artists at ALA

    July 2, 2012 by lindsay

    This video by cartoonist and filmmaker Derek Kirk Kim was taken at the American Library Association convention’s Artist Alley. In the video, comic creators talk about how refreshing it is to sell their work at a convention for librarians where the people coming to their tables are enthusiastic, curious and grateful.

    Indie cartoonist Jerzy Drozd particularly likes that librarians are more open to independent work and are not focused purely on characters with mainstream popularity. The video also features commentary about biases against comics and the reasons that comics belong in libraries.

  8. The Will Eisner Graphic Novel Prize for Libraries

    June 13, 2012 by lindsay

    Earlier this week The Will & Ann Eisner Family Foundation announced the launch of a new prize for libraries that will see over 100 graphic novels donated to three libraries each year. The Will Eisner Graphic Novel Prize for Libraries will give each winning library a collection of graphic novels and additional prizes to help promote graphic novels. Libraries can register to win during the American Library Association (ALA) Conference in Anaheim, California which runs from June 21 to 26. The names of the winning libraries will be announced at 4pm on Sunday, June 24th on the Graphic Novel Stage in the convention hall.

    The prize — named after the late cartoonist best known for creating The Spirit and often noted as coining the term graphic novel —  will include the 2012 Will Eisner Comics Industry Award nominated graphic novels, the entire Will Eisner Library of books, a $2,000 voucher for the purchase of additional graphic novels, and an additional $1,000 stipend for the library to hold a graphic novel or comic related event. The total value for each prize is approximately $4,000.

    Last month the ALA announced it would be hosting zine-related content at the conference and inviting zine-makers to participate in the Zine Pavilion, which includes an exhibit of donated zines (that will be raffled off to a library at the end of the conference) and tables for zinesters to sell their wares during the exhibit. There will also be a zine reading on Sunday June 21, from 9am until 12pm.

  9. To Thine Own Librarian Be True

    May 22, 2012 by lindsay

    Twitter is buzzing with the latest hashtag game #ReplaceAWordWithLibrarian. To play, tweeters take famous phrases from books and films and replace a word with “librarian.” For example: “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your librarian” (@NateCrowder), “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my librarian. Prepare to die” (@CAwkward) and “I love the smell of librarian in the morning” (@andrewhunterm).

    The Huffington Post has collected a few of the best tweets that have resulted from this game.

  10. Fight for Your Right

    May 3, 2012 by lindsay