About the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries
The 2021 grant cycle is now closed. The 2022 grant cycle will open in October 2021
Be sure to also check out the Eisner Grant FAQ page for new updates and additional information (including samples of some of the previous winning grant applications.
The 2021 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Growth Grants are awarded to:
- Samantha Edwards of Kansas City Public Library North-East Branch, Kansas City, MO - the project “Library ComicThon: A Comic-Drawing Workshop to Enrich Northeast Youth” seeks to teach youth to create their own comics projects as well as to enhance and diversify the libraries graphic novel collection. Participants will have the chance to be published in the local newspaper and to have their work included in a library collection of kid-made comics.
- Jennifer Bowers of University of Denver Libraries – their project “Building Past to Present: Developing a Native American, First Nations, and Indigenous Graphic Novels Collection” seeks to develop their nascent collection of 23 Indigenous-created graphic novels in order to “address our legacy of the Sand Creek Massacre, and align with the Task Force on Native American Inclusivity and the Libraries’ goals to diversify our collections, specifically of Native American authors.”
The 2021 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Innovation Grant is presented to:
- James Thomas of University of Southern Mississippi – the project “Graphic Novels in the University Curriculum: Intersectionality in Social Justice Across Disciplines” aims to facilitate the use of graphic novels into rich conversations in higher education and learning, and they add graphic novels to their library social justice and interdisciplinary studies collections. They plan to expand the conversation by incorporating graphic novels and narratives into multiple curricula, as primary and secondary resources, and offering these to the Gulf Coast public community.
The GNCRT celebrated this year's recipients of the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries. While we're sad we were unable to gather for our usual reception at ALA Annual, we were excited to join Nancy and Carl Gropper from the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation for a virtual reception to celebrate this year's recipients and their projects.
Each of our three grant recipients will be sharing information about their winning projects:
- Growth Grant Recipient Ryan LaFerney of the Avon-Washington Township Public Library, Avon IN will speak about his project 'Will Eisner Memorial Comic book Convention'
- Growth Grant Recipient Cathy Burwell of the Cape Fear Community College Library, Wilmington, NC will speak about her project 'Get BiblioGRAPHIC with CFCC'
- Innovation Grant Recipient Deanna Nebenionquit of the Ontario Library Service - North, Sudbury, ON, Canada will speak about her project "Northern Ontario First Nation Graphic Novel Collective"
We'll also give an overview of the Eisner Grant process and take questions for our panelists and about how you can apply for the 2021 grants (submissions open in October!)
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)
- A selection of the winning titles from 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.
ALA’s Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table
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.
- All applicants must be current members of ALA in good standing at the time of application (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.
ALA Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table Staff Liaison: Tina Coleman firstname.lastname@example.org