April Reading Challenge- Get Graphic

For this month’s reading challenge I wanted to do something fun. I have this monster pile of Graphic Novels and comic books that I am dying to read and April is pretty booked with programming at the library. I don’t really have the time for those big thick novels, but I do know I can get through most of my comic books and graphics. Are you with me?

This is one of my favorite genres to promote. I love doing graphic novel readers advisory with kids and teens. Not only do I get to promote a good story, I get to promote the fantastic artwork. If you haven’t jumped into the graphic pool you are missing out. There is a graphic novel for nearly everyone. From traditional superhero stories, to every day life, fantasy, science fiction, and even graphics about classic books like Shakespeare. Plus, the artwork is a treat and it requires a more attention to detail than a traditional book.

The goal I am setting is to catch up on my comic book subscriptions (aka- huge Star Wars binge) and read some of the newer graphics that keep catching my eye in the teen department. I don’t have a set number for this round so it’s more of a read at your own pace challenge. But, I was encouraged by my dear husband to actually deal with all my comic book boxes that are littering the living room. Challenge accepted!

As always you can Tweet to me if you like: @MsVal313

I would love to hear about what you are reading both good and bad!


LibraryCon Part 2- The big day

Our big day had finally arrived! Our first ever LibraryCon was just getting started.  If you are interested in all of our planning please check out my previous post here. Be sure to read my managers three part blog post and give her a follow. She has some awesome posts and ideas. We thought it would be fun to have two different perspectives on LibraryCon since it was such a huge program. I had planned to have all of these written last week but was delayed by my Homestuck party and Cosplay Prom that happened in the teen department this week. My fall self was kinda nuts to plan 3 major programs in a one week time period. Live and learn! On to the show:

Friday Evening:



Friday was spent setting up and assigning tables in the concourse and our other big rooms. We set up the auditorium to have a small stage for our panelists and lots of chairs. In addition to set up we wanted to do a kickoff night for the con. We invited my dear friends from the local Webseries: Drifter. They came and screened their 1st season. Afterwards they did a Q & A with the attendees. We had a smaller crowd that night (30) but all of them were super attentive and had really good questions. One family with teens made sure to watch both seasons before they came! The teen girls loved the series and were really excited to get autographs from the star. I was really excited to see so many teens in the crowd!

Saturday: The Big Event!!!

I don’t think that Sarah or I slept the night before as we were both so excited. We didn’t really know how many people would attend but we were hopeful that no matter what the numbers everyone would have a lot of fun. We had a great mix of things for people do and see. Our guest list was pretty awesome:



  • David Faught
  • Nate Howard
  • Ryan Wheaton
  • Jared George
  • Adam McLaughlin
  • OzFox
  • Nicholas Ladendorf

Local Geek Blogs and Podcasts:

Area Conventions:

Geeky Groups:

Fandom Stars Early: Geeky Storytime

Doing the 5 little Superheroes song!

The first event of the day was a Geeky Storytime that was run by Sarah. If you are curious about the format please check out her recent blog post here. It was loads of fun and there were about 30 people that came. The best part was watching the kids toss the Tardis on the Parachute to the Doctor Who theme song! It was epic!

The Panels:

We had three panels for LibraryCon and could have easily had more. Since this was our first event we wanted our guests to have time to visit all the tables and come to panels. Next year we plan to do something every hour to fill the time. Plus, we might add a few sessions on drawing for the kids and maybe another storytime.


Cosplay Panel- Photo by William Atchison

Our first panel was the most successful: How to Cosplay. I think the timing (1pm) was nearly perfect and we had over 70 attend. The group that presented was a mix of seasoned cosplayers and new cosplayers. We also had a variety of ages on the panel. It was a ton of fun getting to hear about how they got started and what their all time favorite costume has been. Next year I want to have a small slide show so they can show off what they make. The audience was very engaged and asked lots of good questions. If you ever do a Con at your library be sure to include a Cosplay panel. It is a popular topic for all ages!

The Second Panel featured our lovely authors. We ended up with a smaller crowd but still had good audience interactions. We did allow signings and sales afterwards and many teens were excited to get the books. Next year we would like to add some indie authors to the mix. We did feature two local authors Ben Reeder and E.M. Ervin in our Author/Illustrator room. They were a really fun pair and could be found joking with the teens and shooting the illustrators with their Nerf guns!



Book Sales- Photo By William Atchison

Book Sales- Photo By William Atchison


For our final panel we brought together all of our Illustrators. They talked about being in the business, how to get started, and the process of being an artist. It was a fun session and had a pretty good turnout. Next year I would like to do a drawing session with them. I think that will pull in some of our younger crowd and really get them interested in the process of illustrating web comics, comics, and art.


The Local Ghostbuster Group!


Photo By William Atchison


We had a local Podcast group set up! Photo By William Atchison

I have to mention my two teen artists that grabbed one of the tables and started drawing. These two girls are lots of fun and very talented.

Photo By William Atchison

Photo By William Atchison


During the con we had lots of people show up in costume. We did have a rule about weapons. This was because we did not have the staff to make sure things were fake and not real. We also asked that everyone wear family friendly costumes. If you have been to a con you know why I asked this! If not.. lets just say some people consider paint and seashells to be enough coverage.  It was a ton of fun to see all the creativity from guests and our special groups. Here are some of my favorites:

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Our final event was a screening of Midwest in Panels and a Q & A with the owner of Comic Cave, Josh Roberts. We had a very small crowd and thankfully had Josh present at the beginning. I think it was the timing because most of our table guests had wrapped up for the day so there was not a lot going on. Still we had 10 people stay for the movie. Josh is a great guy and was a real trooper to stay and present for us.

Final thoughts: 

Overall we had around 400+ people for our very first LibraryCon! I think that it was a great success and I am already planning LibraryCon 2016. We only had a few tiny set backs and everyone seemed to have a great time. Check out Sarah’s blog about what we loved about our event and what we would change. If you are considering doing this at your library I highly encourage you to take the plunge! It is lots of fun and it really brings together your community.


Two very tired librarians!

For me the best part was seeing the smiles on the faces of the patrons that came that day. Many did not know what we were doing and it gave us the opportunity to share the magic of all things geeky. I also enjoyed the interactions and antics of our special guests. They all knew each other and it was like a big geeky family reunion. Everyone got along great and there were lots of laughs.

Stay tuned for more pictures from the con and check out Sarah’s blog for her perspective on the day.


Our new Geeky Friends!

The making of LibraryCon- Part 1

Once upon a time (last year), my super geeky boss Sarah and I decided to host a Comic Con. We thought that the summer of 2015 would be perfect because the theme was all things Superhero. We half joked in the break room about how cool it would be to have a con that took up all of the rooms in the library and brought together the geeks of Springfield. About halfway into our discussion we realized that we just might be able to pull this off. Seriously, she is a really cool boss! And thus.. in the wee afternoon hours of fall planning long ago, a super event to eclipse all events was born. It was named LibraryCon! This is our journey..


Planning big and facing the realities of staffing, space, and budgets: 

Our branch loves to create big programs and we often have events with 100+ attendees. While we wanted the Con to be huge, we had to be realistic with our ideas. The Con would happen during our Summer Reading program which could be both good and bad. Good: Because it fit with the Superhero theme. Bad: Because of staffing and the potential to draw anywhere from 100-1000 people. We had just learned a valuable lesson in staffing after a Pete the Cat program unexpectedly drew in around 600 people.

We decided to put a call out for volunteers several months in advance and send out reminders the closer we got to the big day. We needed room monitors, greeters, book sale attendees, and floaters that would help with breaks. Our goal was to have a good support system for each other, our attendees, and our special guests.

Next came the space. Our fabulous branch manager helped us choose a date and reserve all of the rooms in the library that we could possibly need. Our large auditorium would be used for our geeky panels and screenings. Two of our meeting rooms (with a movable wall) would house the illustrators and authors. The large hallway would be filled with the rest of our geeky guests. The Storytime Room would host the fandom storytime and geeky crafts for kids. Finally, we had a “greenroom” for guests that needed to change into costume that also doubled as our lunchroom.

We mapped out our space and created spreadsheets with guest info, table requests, and locations. This way we would have everything ready to go when people arrived to set up. Then we left the list at the front door with our greeters so they could direct traffic and answer any questions about location and space.

Our Greeter Table- Photo by William Atchison

Our Greeter Table- Photo by William Atchison

Finally, the budget…  July is the end of our fiscal year so we knew that we had to work with basically nothing. From the very start we planned on only spending money on snacks, and mileage for on our our out of town guests. Everything else would have to be donated or used from our regular supplies. Sarah and I wanted  to try and feed our panelists since they were doing the most work and also provide snacks and bottled water for our other special guests. The Community Relations department was able to score us some delicious burritos from Chipotle for free. My husband and I donated water and cookies. We have a cafe at our branch so guests also had that as an option.

To sum up our spending.. we did this pretty much on a Ramen Noodle Budget!


View of the Concourse with our favorite Star Wars guest!


Another view of the main hall.


Our Panel room- Hoping to have a better sign next year!

Finding the Geeks and spreading some nerdy love:

The best part of planning LibraryCon was the realization that we all know some really geeky people. Several of us met of the course of a few months to talk about who we knew in the community. Our goal was to stay within the Southwest Missouri area and focus on local talent. Yeah, we could have blown our tiny budget on one mega geek, but why do that when there is already such a cool group of geeks in the Springfield area?

Sarah and I made a list of everyone we personally knew that might be interested and then sent out an email to all the library staff to see who they knew. I also decided to scout out one of our local cons (VisionCon) to see if I could find some more illustrators, local authors, and cosplay groups. My husband and I met some great geeks that were really excited to join us for LibraryCon. We also talked up our future event at Free Comic book day at the Comic Cave. I was able to find some really cool illustrators to be on one of our panels and have tables at the event. I also met a local Podcast group called Fanatics and the Fan who wanted to come and do live cast at our event!

Between our scouting adventures, emails to staff, and word getting around, we were able to come up with a great list of local geeks to attend our event and all for free! With this list we decided to have several panels and screenings over the two day event. The first night would feature a local group who has an award winning webseries called: Drifter. The second day we set up three panels: How to Cosplay, Meet the Illustrators, and meet the Authors. As our final event we would screen “Midwest in Panels” a documentary about Comic books stores in the Midwest.

The rest of the list consisted of groups in the community that specialize in all things nerd. They were set up in the main hall of the library to show off their geeky talents and offerings to the community. We had a wide range of tables from Cosplay groups, Gaming and Larping groups, to other fan conventions spreading the word about their upcoming events. There was something for everyone to enjoy.

All of our flyers and web publicity was done in house by our Community Relations group. Once the flyers got out word spread really quick! We had several of our guests create Facebook event pages for us, pass out flyers, and event do webcasts. It was awesome!


Sarah and I on the big day!

The waiting game. AKA- Anxiety and sleepless nights full of Christmas Eve like excitement: 

As we waited for the big day we made sure to keep in contact with our guests, double check our to-do lists, and try to hold in the excitement. You know things are going to be awesome when your husband tells you that it’s like waiting for Christmas. I honestly tossed and turned the night before because I was so excited. This was the biggest thing I have ever been a part of in my library career and I could not wait for the big day.

Stay tuned for LibraryCon Part 2

Also, check out GreenBeanTeenQueen for her take on our event.



Jem and the Holograms- Comic review


Guys I am sitting here with my brand new copy of Jem and the Holograms and my inner 8 year old self is freaking out! I love love loved this show when I was little! Right now I am reading it with the theme song running through my mind~ Jem is truly outrageous…Truly truly truly outrageous..  (youtube it)

The story is about Jerrica and her fab band who have a secret. They are really Jem and the Holograms! After Jerrica’s Dad passes away he gifts her with Synergy. Synergy is a holographic computer that can imitate anyone. The girls use this gift to create a fierce new band with Jem as the lead singer.

If you watched the shows in the 80’s you know the rest of the story. This new comic breathes life into a popular TV show with a new modern take. It has the colorful hair, clothes, makeup and sparkle of the original series. The dialog is a vast improvement over the show which at times could be rather clunky. That being said this is just the first issue so we shall see how it progresses.

For me, it did not disappoint. I love the modern look and the improved dialog. The artwork is spot on and the coloring is squee worthy! The preview of the Misfits was an added bonus. Will they be just as wretched as the show? I have inner fangirl high hopes…

Once this get its own graphic novel I will be getting for the teen department. I might even have an 80’s rerun day for kicks! Totally fab for Teens! Now excuse me while I go have a Netflix marathon!


**Parents, this one has some swearing.


A Bookish Countdown Survey

I am doing this electronic swap on Swap-Bot and thought it would be fun to post a bookish survey here. It is also a reminder of all the books I have yet to read! These are in no particular order and it was really hard to choose my favorite covers.

 10 Books Already Released That Are On My Wishlist

9 Favorite Covers

8 Not-Yet-Released Books That I Can’t Wait For

7 Auto-Buy Authors

Good or bad, I always buy books from the following authors:

Jessica Day Lewis

Shannon Hale

John Flanagan

E.D. Baker

Karen Traviss

Juliet Marillier

Gail Carson Levine

6 Book Boyfriends (and/or girlfriends)

Okay, they are more like characters I really really love. They have struck a chord and they are my favorite not real people.

Aragorn- Lord of the Rings

Gandalf- Lord of the Rings

Miri- Princess Academy

Anne Elliot- Persuasion

Hermione Granger- Harry Potter

Will Treaty- Ranger’s Apprentice

5 Books I Recommend The Most

Since I work with kids and teens these are the books that I recommend nearly every week.

4 Books I Thought I’d Like But Didn’t

3 Books That Made Me Cry

2 Books I Never Plan On Reading

1 Favorite Genre At The Moment

Batman at the Library

Last week marked the 75th anniversary of our favorite caped crusader Batman! We were not planning anything special for our library until we started getting lots of random phone calls. The mystery calls were in regards to a program that we apparently were having on Saturday. Imagine our surprise when after a bit of research, we found out that DC comics had posted the event on their website. It turns out that when our Youth Services manager had requested a Batman promo box from Random House and DC, she had unknowingly signed us up for a program. We found this out the Wednesday before the program, which left us 3 days to quickly put together a program.


Batman checks out the latest graphic novel

Thankfully I work with an amazing group and through teamwork and bouts of crazy brainstorming (maybe a tad bit of panic), we came up with a killer program. Our manager also managed to find a wonderful gentleman that dresses as Batman for events and outreach at local hospitals. He agreed to come for an hour to surprise our little fans and pose for photo ops. Our event brought in over 100 people in just a few hours. It was pretty awesome! Go like his page at: Springfield Batman

This was our program layout:

For adults and teens we had a panel lead by Andy Thompson (YS managers Mister)  and Larry Litle (Creator of the GeekyKool website). They discussed the movies, books, and shows that have made the dark knight a fixture in modern geek culture. The Comic Cave  here in town provided cool posters for giveaways. Thank you!!

For kids we had a room full of games, freebies, and shows to watch. I echo my supervisor when I say I wish we had gotten a bigger room!! It was pretty packed! Here are our games and ideas: (If you are interested in a copy of the Riddle and Villain scavenger hunts please comment and I will be happy to share)


The Riddler Strikes again: With the help of several riddle savvy staff I made a list of 6 clues and hid them around the library. The kids would read the clue, search for green paper squares with big black question marks all over the library, and then bring it all back for a prize.

Villain Scavenger Hunt: This was lots of fun to put together. With the help of Esther in the Youth Services office and my wordsmith Hubby, we created a pretty challenging scavenger hunt. I printed off pictures of villains and hung them up all over the library. It was also a ploy to show people some of the things that they might not visit. Fun and educational!

Easy Villain word puzzle:  This was for the little guys. I put two clip art clues that made up the name of a villain. For example: a bottle of poison and an ivy plant = Poison Ivy

Villain Shooting gallery: This was reused from the Star Wars program. We stacked up giant foam blocks and taped villains to them. Then the kids lined up to shoot them with Nerf guns. This was very popular!


Toss the Batarangs: We used our die-cut machine to make some cardboard bats and then painted them black. The kids tossed them into black and boxes that had the joker inside. This one was okay… most of the batarangs disappeared early on and there really wasn’t enough room for kids to play.


Crafts and word games: We also had a variety of batman crafts for kids to try that we found on the web. We also had a few more word puzzles and whatnot to keep everyone entertained.


Giveaways– Random House provided a box with buttons, posters, bat-masks, bags, and bookmarks for giveaways. The Comic Cave provided extra posters, buttons, and a few action figures for additional prizes.

All in all, it was a well attended program. We had lots of really happy kids and excited parents. Next year we will be moving this to a bigger room! The pictures below show some of the excitement from the day. If you have not had a performer or costumer at your library I highly recommend it. They are a huge draw and everyone that we have had attend have been wonderful with our patrons. Springfield Batman went above the call of duty and made lots of little kids super happy!

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Now you know what Batman reads!


I got to dress as Batgirl. Excuse the slightly frazzled look!


Batman rides the turtle!

Free Comic Book day!!

Make sure to head to your local library or neighborhood comic book shop for FREE COMIC BOOK day! Never heard of comic book day? Check out the video below.




Here is another link to the comics that will be available here.


See you at the Library!