Winners of the first annual Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries announced

For Immediate Release
Sun, 06/29/2014

Contact:

Tina Coleman
Staff Liaison
Graphic Novels & Comics Member Initiative Group
312.280.2152
ccoleman@ala.org

CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) and the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation announced the two winners of the first Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries Saturday on-site at the ALA 2014 Annual Conference in Las Vegas. The grants, funded by Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation, are administered by ALA's Games and Gaming Round Table and the Graphic Novels & Comics in Libraries Member Initiative Group. ALA received more than 75 applications.

The Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries consists of two annual grants. The Will Eisner Graphic Novel Growth Grant provides support to a library that would like to expand its existing graphic novel services and programs and the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Innovation Grant provides support to a library for the initiation of a graphic novel service, program or initiative.

The 2014 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Growth Grant was presented to Ypsilanti District Library, Ypsilanti, Mich. Their project "Graphic Novels in Healthcare: An Opportunity for Growth" expands their medical graphic novel collection and offers programs where healthcare professionals and careers learn how graphic novels and comics can help with patient treatment and recovery.

The 2014 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Innovation Grant was presented to Lewis & Clark Library, Helena, Mont., for their project "Graphically Yours." Their project includes the development of a graphic novel collection and a month-long slate of special graphic novel and comic programs to engage their patrons.

Each of the grants awards the winning libraries with a $2,000 voucher to purchase graphic novels from the distributor-partner—Brodart, $1,000 to host a graphic novel-themed event, and a $1,000 stipend to attend the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas. Additionally the winners will receive the Will Eisner Library (a graphic novel collection of Will Eisner’s work and biographies about acclaimed writer and artist) and copies of the graphic novels nominated for this year’s Will Eisner Awards at San Diego Comic-Con.

Jury member John Mack Freeman said, “It was really exciting to see so many innovative ideas coming from such a wide range of libraries. Just like graphic novels themselves, the applications for this grant proved that there is no one size fits all way to incorporate these works into patron communities. We had applications from all over the country and from school, public, and academic libraries. This grant provided a fantastic opportunity for libraries that embrace graphic novels to continue to expand their impact.”

Nancy Gropper of the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation says: "It has been very gratifying to work with the ALA in the development of the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries. Will Eisner spent his lifetime working to prove the value of comic art narrative as a valid literary form and deeply hoped that comics and graphic novels would one day become a part of every library's collection. We thank the many librarians who have helped make these grants possible, those who have applied, and we congratulate the two 2014 winners."

About The Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation

The Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation fosters innovation and creativity in graphic literature, sequential art and comics. It encourages others to continue and build upon the legacy of Will Eisner, who broke new ground in the development of visual narrative and the language of comics and was the creator of The Spirit, John Law, Lady Luck, Mr. Mystic, Uncle Sam, Blackhawk, Sheena and countless others. For more information about Will Eisner visit www.willeisner.com.

About ALA

Established in 1876, the American Library Association (ALA) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization created to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all. More information on the grant and the application process can be found on the ALA website.