To help make the search for comic shops easier and more convenient, BookShelf has partnered with the Comic Shop Locator Service website to create a School and Library Partners badge. Comic shops with this badge have said they are willing to help libraries and schools promote comics and graphic novels. This could mean help with stocking comics and graphic novels, putting together programming, offering educational presentations, providing purchasing at a discount, and more.
Librarians and educators looking for a shop to partner with can search their local area by simply typing in their zip code or address.
For comic shops who'd like more information or to participate, please contact your Diamond Retailers Services Representative.
Here's a look at individual comic shops who have been excellent partners with their local libraries and schools:
- Captain Blue Hen Comics - Located in Newark, Delware, Captain Blue Hen Comics has been open since 1980. Current owners Joe and Danielle Murray have worked hard to make the shop a comfortable setting for both long-time comics fans and brand new readers. Joe Murray explains that "We set up our store to display the full variety that the comic medium offers and we stress our books as entertainment and reading fun, not necessarily collectibles." By stressing the value of the content of the books, Captain Blue Hen is able to provide something for everyone. An official vendor for the New Castle County Public Libraries, Captain Blue Hen is also a regular participant in local library shows and book fairs.
Joe describes Captain Blue Hen functioning as a "personal graphic novel shopping assistant" for libraries. "We discuss what they're looking for, we make suggestions and assemble a list they can easily adjust for their budgetary needs, and within a few days they have the books in hand and soon on the shelves." Captain Blue Hen has hosted workshops at the Delaware Librarians Conference and Delaware Book Fair, and is involved in the educational community as well.
"Usually at least once a semester we're invited to speak to classes of teachers and librarians at the University of Delaware looking for certification or seeking to broaden their understanding of what comics have to offer as teaching tools." The community involvement is well worth the effort, leading to new customers, increased exposure for the store, as well as for comics and graphic novels in general, and a positive community presence.
- Casablanca Comics - Casablanca Comics has two locations in Maine, one in Portland and one in Windham. Open since 1987, Casblanca boasts a diverse customer base with a large variety of interests. Laura O'Meara, the library services specialist for Casablanca, notes that the store has been working with libraries for 20 years, and that they currently service over 100 libraries.
"For each library, we keep track of the titles that they have purchased and recommend new and ongoing titles to them. We also make new recommendations based upon what is popular with their unique readers. Typically, a library will call us, let us know their budget, tell us of any special requests, and leave the rest up to us." This is beneficial to libraries because "they know we have read the titles that we are recommending and act as a final filter so that there are no surprises."
Casablanca also makes a point of attending Maine Library Conferences, both as exhibitors and speakers. Melissa Orth, the Young Adult librarian at the Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick, ME began working with Casablanca as a result of one of these conferences. "I saw Rick Lowell (co-owner of Casablanca) speak at a conference in April 2000 about how graphic novels are a good thing to have in libraries, approached him about starting a small collection at Curtis and the rest is history. Except for a few standing order Manga titles from Ingram, I purchase all graphic novels from Casablanca based on reviews, teen/patron requests, and Rick and Laura's advice." Melissa added that graphic novels do very well at the Curtis Library, typically counting for about 1/5 of the total circulation.
- Night Flight Comics - Night Flight Comics in Salt Lake City, Utah, has been working with librarians and educators for over 20 years. According to Mimi Cruz Carroll, the manager of Night Flight, "back in April of 1987 the first educator asked for my help and it snowballed from there." Since then, the store has been involved in educational presentations and conferences, as well as special events such as Free Comic Book Day and 24 Hour Comic Book Day, which encourage public participation. A testament to their fine relationship with the Salt Lake City Library system, Night Flight Comics was given the opportunity to open a branch within the City Library's Library Square, making them the first comic book shop located inside a public library.
One of the proudest moments for Night Flight was a Comic Conference they put together last November for the City Library. "This originated with the City Library's desire to work more closely with local educators while also including events interesting to the public," explains Mimi, adding "I don't know if it could have been any more successful. All the participants: Jackie Estratda, (Eisner Administrator) Bill Morrison, (Bongo Comics) Steven Seagle, (It's A Bird, American Virgin) Joan Hilty, (DC Comics) Batton Lash, (Supernatural Law) Bill Willingham, (Fables) Trevor Nielson, (The Lily Maid) Derek Hunter, (Pirate Club) Jeff Chapman, (U of U) Bill Galvan (Archie Comics), and Dr. Robyn A. Hill (teacher educator for National University) really pulled the whole effort together seemingly effortlessly."
Colleen McLaughlin from the City Library also spoke enthusiastically about the event, explaining that "it included an exhibit of original works by Eisner Award-winning artist Bill Morrison and was seen by thousands of people. There were workshops for the public and also for educators who learned the benefits of using comic books when teaching reluctant readers." "We're very pleased to have Night Flight Comics at Library Square and to work with Mimi on so many important projects."