Librarians—nerdrarians?—are no stranger to the SDCC pop culture extravaganza. The show has always provided a rich slate of programming and panels focused on the role of graphic novels in libraries and the classroom. But this year will take it to another level, hosting three days of programming designed specifically for librarians (as well as teachers) that begins on Wednesday, then jumps to Friday and Saturday. Librarians can even receive college credit for professional development if they pay a fee for certain programs—otherwise it’s all free. All three days will be staged at the San Diego Central Library, a new state-of-the art library facility near Petco Park (the Padres’ baseball park, across the rail tracks from the convention center) that opened last year. The programming is designed for librarians and teachers, but it’s open to anyone with a Comic-Con badge. Here’s a selected listing of the panels:
Wednesday, July 8
5–8 p.m. Creating Superheroes in the Classroom: An Interactive Workshop for Teachers: Antero Garcia, Peter Carlson, Susan Kirtley, and Jenn Anya Prosser lead a hands-on workshop for K–12 educators interested in using comic books in classrooms. Open to teachers of all subjects, the program will look at how content-area literacy can be supported through comic books and popular culture in various disciplines. At the Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Library.
Friday, July 10
12–1 p.m. Comics for Impact: STEM Education: Comics can be a powerful tool for teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), but it requires collaboration among comic creators, scientists, and educators. The panel features cartoonist Jorge Cham (creator of Ph.D., a comics strip), Dwayne Godwin (neuroscientist and professor, Wake Forest School of Medicine), Rebecca Thompsen (author, Spectra: The Original Laser Superhero), and Alan Gershenfeld (president, E-Line Media), and is moderated by Russell Shilling (U.S. Department of Education). At the Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Library.
1–2 p.m. Comics Are for Everyone: Helping Every Student See Themselves in the Medium—Minorities, women, and the LGBT community have only recently begun to see an increase in representation in mainstream comics. This panel seeks to explore the cultural, societal, and educational ramifications of this recent shift and discuss possible future implications. Educators Ronell Whitaker (Dwight D. Eisenhower High School, Blue Island, IL), Eric Kallenborn (Alan B. Shepard High School, Palos Heights, IL), Adam Huggins (Miras International School, Almaty, Kazakhstan), and Dr. Katie Monnin (Teaching Graphic Novels, Using Content-Area Graphic Texts for Learning), led by moderator John Shableski (Udon Entertainment), discuss the impact of diverse characters in comics. At the Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Library
Saturday, July 11
11 a.m.–12 p.m. Kids’ Comics Summit: Publishers talk about their publishing programs and the state of the children’s comics industry. A conversation with Alex Segura (Archie Comics), Filip Sablik (Boom), Kuo-Yu Liang (Diamond), Gina Gagliano (First Second), Sven Larsen (Papercutz), and David Saylor (Scholastic), moderated by Christopher Butcher (Toronto Comics Art Festival). At the Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Library.
4 p.m.–5 p.m. CBLDF Protecting Comics in Libraries—Comic Book Legal Defense Fund executive director Charles Brownstein spotlights the current landscape of graphic novel challenges and shares the organization's most recent resources and success stories. Come share your perspectives, and learn more about how you can be a part of protecting comics. At the Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Library
5 p.m.–6 p.m. Librarian Talkback—In this town-hall session, librarians from the audience will share the good and bad of working with graphic novels in libraries with publisher representatives from Abrams ComicsArts (Charlie Kochman), Archie Comics (Alex Segura), Boom! (Filip Sablik), Dark Horse (Michael Martens), First Second (Mark Siegel), IDW/Top Shelf (Alan Payne), Image (Corey Murphy), Murphy), Papercutz (Sven Larsen), Scholastic (Lizette Serrano), and VAZ (Ashlee Vaughn). Librarians, this is your chance to ask publishers why they do things the way they do and tell them how they could be doing better. Moderated by Brigid Alverson (SLJ Good Comics for Kids, PW Comics World). At the Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Library
Update: we've added additional panels to this selective listing of programming designed for librarians and teachers,.