While most comics fans are familiar with Will Eisner and his many contributions to comics, most are not aware that he also created a charitable foundation. The Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation “fosters innovation and creativity in graphic literature, sequential art and comics.” One of their more visible projects is an annual grant given to two libraries: The Will Eisner Graphic Novel Growth Grant for libraries seeking to expand their graphic novel collections and community outreach, and the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Innovation Grant for libraries seeking to add graphic novels to their collections.
Yesterday, the 2015 grant award winners were announced, in anticipation of the annual American Library Association conference taking place this week and next in San Francisco.
The winners, from more than 150 applicants:
The 2015 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Growth Grant is awarded to Yuma High School Library, Yuma, Arizona. Its current graphic novel selection is only 2.69 percent of its collection, and yet accounts for 31.76 percent of its circulation, thus the library’s project – “Improving Literacy and Enriching Lives” – will expand its graphic novel collection to better serve the school’s diverse student body, which includes students from low-income households and students who are English language learners.
[Wow. What an awesome school history, and mascot!]
The 2015 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Innovation Grant was presented to Bellmore Memorial Library, Bellmore, New York, for its project “Picture Yourself: Using Graphic Novels to Explore the People and Perceptions of Bellmore.” The project aims to connect the library with a diverse local audience and document life in the town through book clubs, graphic novel workshops and the opportunity for patrons to write and illustrate their own story of their Bellmore.
[Bellmore is noted for a Supreme Court obscenity ruling, allowing that material not classified as “obscene” to adults might be restricted for sales to minors if the material were deemed harmful. Here is the Court’s ruling.]
Each award winner receives a $2,000 voucher to purchase graphic novels from Diamond Book Distributors (the library/book trade cousin of Diamond Comics), $1,000 to host a graphic novel-themed event, and a $1,000 stipend to attend the 2015 ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco. Additionally the winners will receive the Will Eisner Library (a graphic novel collection of Will Eisner’s work and biographies about acclaimed writer and artist) and copies of the graphic novels nominated for this year’s Will Eisner Awards at San Diego Comic-Con.
The winners will be formally announced on Saturday, June 27th, at 2:00 PM on the Graphic Novel Stage in the exhibits hall.