Winners of the 2017 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries announced

Tina Coleman
Staff Liaison
ccoleman@ala.org

CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) and the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation will honor the two winners of the 2017 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries Saturday onsite at the ALA 2017 Annual Conference in Chicago. The grants, funded by the 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.

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 2017 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Growth Grant is awarded to the Colorado State Library, Denver, Colorado. For their project “Where There Is Art, There Is Hope: Graphic Novels and Literacy at the Sterling Correctional Facilities Libraries” they plan to allow a new teacher to travel to Sterling, Colorado, to enrich their LEAD With Comics curriculum at the Sterling Correctional Facility (SCF) Libraries. The growth of LEAD at SCF will encourage literacy and reduce recidivism.

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

Each of the grants awards the winning libraries with a $2,000 voucher to purchase graphic novels from the distributor-partner – Diamond Book Distributors, $1,000 to host a graphic novel-themed event, and a $1,000 travel stipend to attend the 2017 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. Additionally the winners will receive the Will Eisner Library (a graphic novel collection of Will Eisner’s work and biographies about the acclaimed writer and artist) and copies of the graphic novels nominated for this year’s Will Eisner Awards at San Diego Comic-Con.

T. J. Lamanna, Cherry Hill Public Library, a member of the 2017 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Growth Grant jury said, “Library funding is always a difficult issue to manage and these grants not only allow libraries and librarians to extend the services to more patrons in new and unique ways, but also validate the funding already received. It shows the communities their libraries are recognized and innovative and helps solidify that vital relationship they have with their patrons.”

Nancy and Carl Gropper of the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation added: “Throughout his career, Will Eisner generously gave of himself to budding comics artists and writers, encouraging them to pursue their dreams and to strive towards excellence. In his work, he relentlessly pushed the limits of what comics could accomplish, resulting in the creation of the literary graphic novel. On behalf of his legacy, it is an honor to provide funding support to this year’s two grant winners. Each, in distinctive and exceptional ways, is expanding and diversifying the inspiring roles libraries can fulfill with vision and creativity in the use of graphic literature. Our hearty congratulations to the 2017 grant recipients, and the winning librarians Erin Boyington and Jessica Mlotkowski for their outstanding work.”

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. Will Eisner is best known for being the creator of The Spirit comic, for developing comics for education and training, and for writing the first modern graphic novel. 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 at http://www.ala.org/gamert/will-eisner-graphic-novel-grants-libraries.

Graphic Novels & Comics Member Initiative Group
312.280.2152
American Library Association