2018 applications for the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries now being accepted

For Immediate Release
Wed, 10/04/2017


Tina Coleman

Staff Liaison

Graphic Novels & Comics Member Initiative Group

American Library Association



CHICAGO  —  The American Library Association (ALA) and the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation are now accepting applications for the 2018 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 legacy and 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 “Champion of the Graphic Novel.” Information about the grant and application can be found at http://www.ala.org/gamert/will-eisner-graphic-novel-grants-libraries. The application deadline is January 26, 2018.

Each year the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries awards two grants: the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Growth Grant which provides support to a library that would like to expand its existing graphic novel services and programs; the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Innovation Grant which provides support to a library for the initiation of a graphic novel service or program. Recipients receive a $4,000 programming and collection development grant plus a collection of Will Eisner’s works and biographies as well as a selection of the graphic novels nominated for the 2018 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards at Comic-Con International. The grant also includes a travel stipend for a library representative to travel to the 2018 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana to receive recognition from the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation.

Nancy and Carl Gropper of the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation said, “Will Eisner devoted his life to the medium he loved, comic art. Convinced of its great potential, he felt that the seamless combination of words and images he subsequently called ‘sequential art,’ could communicate stories with serious themes, even more effectively than prose alone. He was an experimenter and an innovator often pushing the boundaries of the field in striving for excellence. It was the publication of his first graphic novel that produced revolutionary changes in the industry. His work pioneered the graphic novel movement. A strong and vocal advocate for comics and graphic novels in libraries, he was highly gratified to know of their inclusion in school, public, and academic settings. With these two grants and our partnership with the ALA, we pay homage to Will Eisner, by helping librarians offer the joy of this unique reading experience to increasing numbers of patrons, and to create the graphic novel programs they would love to have for their communities and beyond.”

The Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries debuted in 2014, and the 2017 winning libraries — Colorado State Library, Denver, Colorado, and the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico — were announced at the 2017 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago.

Colorado State Library was the recipient of the 2017 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Growth Grant, where they used their grant for their LEAD With Comics program at the Sterling Correctional Facility (SCF). This allowed a new teacher to travel to SCF and to enrich LEAD curriculum and the libraries’ collections with new graphic novels. Erin Boyington of the Colorado State Library said "On September 12, The Sterling Correctional Facility Libraries hosted its two Eisner events. Dr. William Kuskin led a discussion on the theme of ‘Where There is Art, There is Hope,’ using graphic novels to explore how art can be constrained and how it manages to break us free. Seeing the responses of those who attended was an amazing experience--the men were so engaged in talking about the art of graphic novels. Several offenders came up to me afterward and expressed their thanks.”

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 http://www.ala.org/gamert/will-eisner-graphic-novel-grants-libraries.  For any inquiries, please contact ALA Graphic Novels & Comics in Libraries Member Initiative Group staff liaison Tina Coleman at ccoleman@ala.org.


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.

The American Library Association (ALA), 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.