Eisner Graphic Novel Grants

About the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries

The 2020 grant cycle is now open - deadline for grant applications is February 9, 2020.

Three Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries are given annually - two Will Eisner Graphic Novel Growth Grants will provide support to two libraries that would like to expand its existing graphic novel services and programs and one Will Eisner Graphic Novel Innovation Grant will provide support to a library for the initiation of a graphic novel service, program or initiative. These Grants will support two categorical grants that will encourage public awareness on the rise and importance of graphic literature, sequential art, and comics as a literary medium.  The objective of the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries is to facilitate library-generated programs and services that will promote graphic novels to library patrons and to the local community.

Will Eisner (1917-2005) was an acclaimed American comics writer, artist, teacher, and entrepreneur.  He is considered one of the most important contributors to the development of sequential art (a term he coined) and is known for the cartooning studio he founded; for his highly influential comic series, The Spirit; for his use of comics as an instructional medium; for his leading role in establishing the graphic novel as a form of literature with his 1978 groundbreaking graphic novel, A Contract with God and Other Tenement Stories; for his 20 years of teaching at the School of Visual Arts, leading to his three textbooks. In a career that spanned nearly seven decades—from the dawn of the comic book to the advent of digital comics—Will Eisner was truly the “Father of the Graphic Novel.”

Each winning library will receive a grant award of $4,000 to support initiatives that align with the objective of the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries.  The grant award will consist of the following: 

  • $2,000 grant to purchase graphic novels from the distributor-partner (current partner is Diamond Comics Distributors),
  • $1,000 grant to host a graphic novel-themed event at a library or another community location, and
  • $1,000 grant to attend the ALA Annual Conference to receive their grant money.  This grant can be used towards any of the following: conference registration, transportation, lodging and food.

In addition, from the book publishers and the Eisner Foundation, the winning libraries will also receive the following graphic novels, valued at approximately $3,000:

  • The Will Eisner Library: A graphic novel collection of Will Eisner’s work and biographies about Will Eisner* comprising approximately 75 books and;
  • Graphic novels nominated for the current year’s Will Eisner Awards* at Comic-Con International comprising approximately 100 books.

* Please note that some of the titles in these collections are of a mature nature. 

Chosen Grant applicants must agree to take responsibility for organizing a recognition ceremony of their grant in their library.

APPLY ONLINE HERE (login required)

Administered by:

ALA’s Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table

Award Frequency

Grants will be awarded annually. Grant funds and travel stipend will be issued by check to the winning institution within 45 days of notification. The graphic novel collection vouchers will be presented during ALA Annual Conference at the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants Reception.

Eligibility

  • All applicants must be current members of ALA at the time the application is submitted (personal or organizational).
  • The institution can be a school, public, academic or special library and must be located in North America (Canada, United States, or Mexico).
  • Existing commercial programs will not be considered.
  • Any library or Friends group may submit an application to the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Innovation Grant.
  • A library or Friends group may not submit an application to Will Eisner Graphic Novel Growth Grant and the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Innovation Grant in the same year.
  • Past winners of the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Award for Libraries are eligible to receive a Will Eisner Graphic Novel Innovation Grant.
  • No library or Friends group should receive the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Innovation Grant more than two times over the five year period.
  • No library or Friends group should receive the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Growth Grant for a project or program sponsored by Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grant funding.
  • Institutions represented by the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Innovation Grant  Jury are eligible to apply, but Committee members must recuse themselves from the discussion and voting or decline the nomination if they have a conflict of interest.

Past Winners

Will Eisner Graphic Novel Innovation Grant

Will Eisner Graphic Novel Growth Grant

Contact Information

ALA Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table Staff Liaison: Tina Coleman ccoleman@ala.org