For immediate release | October 3, 2016

Applications now being accepted for 2017 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries

CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) and the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation are now accepting applications for the 2017 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries, which recognize libraries for their role in the growth of graphic literature.

The grants extend graphic novels into a new realm by encouraging public awareness about the rise and importance of graphic literature and honoring the creative excellence of Will Eisner. In a career that spanned nearly eight decades — from the dawn of the comic book to the advent of digital comics — Will Eisner is recognized as the “Father of the Graphic Novel.” Information about the grant and application can be found at The application deadline is January 20, 2017.

The Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries awards two 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; the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Innovation Grant provides support to a library for the initiation of a graphic novel service or program. Each recipient will receive a $4,000 program and collection development grant plus a collection of Will Eisner’s works and biographies as well as the graphic novels nominated for the 2017 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards at Comic-Con International. The grant award includes a travel stipend for a library representative to travel to the 2017 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois to receive recognition from the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation.

Nancy and Carl Gropper of the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation said, “Each fall we look forward to ALA’s call for Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grant applications. Will Eisner was a premier story teller who revolutionized the comics industry in many ways. He was proudest of his first graphic novel, "A Contract with God" in 1978. He popularized this format by writing over 20 more graphic novels, and began the forward momentum of the graphic novel movement. With the awarding of these grants in his name, we hope to provide librarians with the resources to not only grow their graphic novel collections, but to creatively build connections with their communities through graphic novel programming. We have been delighted with the ALA application process, the quality of responses, and the juried selection. The projects of the grant recipients have been outstanding and we encourage all graphic novel librarians to apply.”

This grant opportunity debuted in 2014, and in the 2016 cycle the grants received more than 130 proposals and the winning libraries — Birchwood School Library, Columbia, South Carolina, and Atlantic City Free Public Library, Atlantic City, New Jersey — were announced at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Susan McNair, librarian at the Birchwood School Library recipient of the 2016 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Innovation Grant said "Funding from the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grant has allowed Birchwood School to hire a graphic illustrator, who will create the illustrations for an anti-gang graphic novel written by our students. Collaborating with these incarcerated youth as they engage in the creative writing process is amazing. Their enthusiasm and energy are driving the project, and I can’t wait to see what they will bring to our next session. We have many avid graphic novel readers, who are eagerly awaiting the new additions to our collection, made possible through the Eisner Grant.”

The grant is administered by ALA’s Gaming Round Table and the Graphic Novels & Comics in Libraries Member Initiative Group.

More information on the grant and the application process is available online at For any inquiries, please contact ALA Graphic Novels & Comics in Libraries Member Initiative Group staff liaison Tina Coleman at

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

The American Library Association, the oldest and largest library association in the world, provides 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.


Tina Coleman

Staff Liaison

American Library Association

Graphic Novels & Comics Member Initiative Group