Literacy meets comics at the Comic Conference for Educators and Librarians


What can teach emerging or unmotivated readers the basics of sequencing, critical thinking, storytelling, character, imagination, even reading comprehension?

Comics can, according to educators, librarians, publishers, writers and artists attending the upcoming Comics Conference for Educators and Librarians (CCEL).

“The beauty of this conference is that it takes the power of comics and graphic novels and allows professionals in these fields to see how they can best use them as tools to achieve these educational and literacy goals,” said said San Diego Public Library supervisor Joseph Miesner. librarian of adult programming, partnerships and special events.

Launched in 2016, San Diego Comic-Con’s (SDCC) offsite affiliate conference on literacy and education will resume in-person this year after virtual programming during “[email protected]”. The CCEL takes place from Wednesday afternoon July 20 to Sunday July 24, 2022.

It’s free and open to the public (not just teachers and librarians), and a Comic-Con badge isn’t required to attend. With a Comic-Con badge, however, you can skip the RSVP process; those without a badge must register in advance here – although space is limited, so plan ahead.

The event is divided into five days of themed panels, each focusing on a different area of ​​comics education and literacy. It kicks off with “Teaching with Comics”, an interactive workshop to teach educators how to use comics in the classroom.

The following days are devoted to topics related to libraries (Thursday), publishing (Friday), education (Saturday) and higher education (Sunday).

“It’s really a great way for educators and librarians to promote reading and literacy because things like critical thinking, sequencing, imagination, storytelling and creativity, starting of conversation, understanding of characters — all of those things become more accessible through visualization,” Miesner said. “Anything that can break down those barriers so that people become more educated, become more literate is really powerful.”

Event panelists include teachers, school psychologists, academics and librarians from across the country (as well as locally), publishers, advocates, showrunners and actors, authors and illustrators, and more.

Courtesy of SDPL

Panelists from a previous conference on comics for educators and librarians are shown in an undated photo at the San Diego Central Library.

Defense against book bans

One topic that pops up multiple times across multiple disciplines is book bans or book challenges. Maryelizabeth Yturralde is a bookseller – one of the original co-founders of Mysterious Galaxy Books. She helped schedule the editing panels and says it’s still a hot topic, even in 2022.

“We’re seeing attacks on library content, we’re seeing attacks on bookstore content, and having something where people can talk about best practices and how to respond and how to keep books available for readers is a big deal. topical, important and necessary,” Yturralde said. said.

The panel will hopefully open conversations, share advocacy tools and tactics, and raise awareness about book bans.

“It’s alarming, it’s concerning, and it’s something people on the front lines need to know how to respond to,” she said.

The publishing panel, “Bans Off Our Books! Responding to Challenges,” takes place from 4-5 p.m. on Friday, July 22. Book banning panels centered on libraries and schools take place on Thursdays from 3-5 p.m. , “Intellectual Freedom for Educators,” discusses the recent series of proposed laws to restrict topics in classrooms.

A sign directs San Diego Comic-Con audiences and attendees to previous programming from the Comics Conference for Educators and Librarians in July 2018. This year's programming for educators and librarians will take place virtually in part of Comic-Con@Home.

San Diego Public Library

A sign directs San Diego Comic-Con audiences and attendees to the previous Comics Conference for Educators and Librarians programming in July 2018.

Other themes throughout the conference include empathy, diversity and representation.

“(The portrayal) helps to build the confidence of young people when they may be questioning themselves or not feeling like they fit in with the wider community. Seeing themselves in literature can be a powerful thing and empowers people to dream big,” Miesner said. , adding that the fantasy and genre element adds an important component to the portrayal, “So I can reaffirm myself at the same time as aiming for the stars.”

Miesner said the appeal of comics can help with motivation, not just among early readers. If someone is behind in literacy or has other barriers to literacy or reading, comics and graphic novels offer subject matter that isn’t “childish” like other learning aids. literacy. This builds self-esteem and confidence in reading, which results in an increase in reading.


Courtesy of SDPL

The 2022 San Diego Public Library Comic-Con Commemorative Library Card is designed by Tijuana artist Charles Glaubitz. Cards are available at the SDPL booth at Comic-Con or at branch libraries beginning July 21, 2022.

“You think, uh, a comic book, all fun and games,” Miesner said. “But this conference is really saying, well, wait a minute, it’s a powerful tool that can really help educators and librarians achieve those real, fundamental goals that are at the heart of what we do.”

More goodies from the Comic-Con Public Library

The San Diego Public Library system has a strong presence at every Comic-Con – both in and out of the exhibit hall.

Several branches across the city will be hosting special storytimes, workshops and superhero dance parties throughout Comic-Con weekend.

If you are downtown, you can find a cosplay repair station on the 4th floor of the central library. No appointment is necessary and you can use their sewing machines, 3D printers, laser cutters, soldering irons, simple sewing supplies and glues – pretty much anything you can think of to touch up your costume, from 10 a.m. at 4 p.m. from Thursday to Saturday.

Also of note is the annual Comic-Con commemorative library card. This year’s design is by Tijuana-based artist and illustrator Charles Glaubitz, who recently exhibited work as part of the “Occupy Thirdspace II” exhibit, featured in “5 works of art to see in March.”

The new map is the first to be designed in Spanish. Pick up yours at the SDPL booth in the exhibit hall or at a branch from July 21.

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