Fandom provides opportunities to explore, celebrate and gather around a particular creative work, team or trend. It is often associated with science fiction and fantasy but fandom can encompass anything that generates a devoted base of followers. As repositories of literature, movies, sound recordings and realia, libraries have found a number of ways to align fandom with programming and services that advance their commitments to literacy, inquiry and community.
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Boise Public Library’s annual Comic Con connects literature with popular culture. Writers, artists, and fans converge in a day-long, all ages, multi-venue event that caters to enthusiasts of all stripes. Comic Con supports the library’s mission as it: features literature and other artistic works that have given rise to fan groups; celebrates reading and learning; and inspires creative exchange.
Some libraries reach out to specific age groups through fandom. The Brookline Public Library does just that with Fandom Tuesdays, a thematically shifting but regularly scheduled after school program for teens. Participants choose a theme and corresponding activities. Fandom Tuesdays began as a one-month special event and was so well received that the library’s teen services department decided to make it a regular fixture.
The Anime Club at Marion Public Library is much more specific about its fandom. Once a month, teens gather to watch and discuss anime, share artwork—and enjoy Japanese snacks, of course! Much of the anime is available in printed form as manga, a great hook for the library’s teen patrons, especially those who are artistically inclined or reluctant readers.
Libraries recognize that fandom is not all fun and cosplay. The Paskow Science Fiction Collection at Temple University offers researchers access to rare books, manuscripts, fanzines and memorabilia, along with the personal papers of several science fiction and fantasy writers. Visitors bear witness to the human fascination with worlds unknown and explore the way literature has developed as our understanding of the universe evolves.
How do you celebrate fandom at your library? Let us know! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
ALA’s Center for the Future of Libraries works to identify trends relevant to libraries and the communities they serve; promote futuring and innovation techniques to help librarians and library professionals shape their future; and build connections with experts and innovative thinkers to help libraries address emerging issues. Learn more at www.ala.org/libraryofthefuture.