We all know (or should know!) how important Will Eisner was to the comics artform. Something an increasing number of people know is how important libraries are to getting more and more people to read comics and graphic novels.

So it makes sense that a Graphic Novel Prize for Libraries would be named for Eisner. The Will Eisner Graphic Novel Prize for Libraries will be presented at this year’s ALA to three libraries which will each receive a selection of books nominated for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, a $2,000 voucher to purchase more GNs, and a $1000 stipend to hold author events. This is really a great idea for a prize and a great prize for people who love graphic novels. More in the PR below:

The Will & Ann Eisner Family Foundation announced today the launch of the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Prize for Libraries. The prize will be awarded annually to three libraries at the American Library Association’s summer conference commencing with this year’s event in Anaheim, California.

Each library will receive books nominated for the prestigious Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the entire Will Eisner Library of books, a $2,000 voucher for the purchase of additional graphic novels, and an additional $1,000 stipend for the library to hold a graphic novel author/creator event or a graphic novel/comics themed event. The collection of titles comprises over 100 books and the total value for each prize is approximately $4,000.

Carl Gropper, President of the Foundation says, “We developed this prize as a way to emphasize not only Will Eisner’s contributions to the comics industry, but to also recognize the important role that librarians have played in the phenomenal growth of the graphic novel category. While Will Eisner helped to create the foundation for graphic novels, librarians have championed the benefits of the graphic novel format and the comics medium to the world’s readers.”

Gropper continues “The addition of the Eisner Award-nominated titles to the prize reflects the spirit of inclusion that Will Eisner was known for. He would have loved to have participated in the convergence of the comics and library communities. The Eisner Awards are announced each year at San Diego Comic Con and are considered the Oscars of the Comics Industry. The list of nominated titles is created by a committee of independent industry experts, which has included a librarian since 2005, when Kat Kan was selected for the committee.”

David Glanzer, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Comic Con International adds “Each year we take great pride in celebrating Will Eisner’s incredible contribution to the comics world with two awards named in his honor; the Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards, and the Will Eisner Spirit of Retailing award. We are happy to learn that the Will & Ann Eisner Foundation is creating and administering the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Prize for Libraries which endeavors to provide an even wider audience for graphic novels, a move we truly support.”

“We also thank our friends” continues Gropper “the publishers of the Will Eisner Library: Abrams ComicArts, Dark Horse Comics, DC Entertainment, IDW Publishing, and W.W. Norton and for their support and their contribution of books by Will Eisner and biographies about him for the prize. “

Librarians attending the ALA Convention in Anaheim can register to win the prize at the Reading With Pictures/Will & Ann Eisner Family Foundation booth (#788). The three winning libraries will be announced at 4pm on Sunday, June 24th on the Graphic Novel Stage in the convention hall.

The Brodart Company is the library wholesale partner and a sponsor for this year’s prize. They will handle the cataloging and shipping of the graphic novels to the winning libraries.


  1. This should be super! There’s also going to be a kickoff party at ALA. And there’s a panel with some of the librarians who’ve served as Eisner judges. I was the first one (thanks, Jackie!), but I can’t be on the panel – I’ll be on another one (Convincing the Naysayers – and yes, we still have to!) at the same time. But for anyone who reads The Beat, please know that many of us in the library world love graphic novels and love sharing them with our patrons!

  2. Hey Steve,
    This is actually a prize for libraries that packages all the Eisner Nominated titles together. The intent of the prize is to increase the awareness of the Eisner Awards far beyond the boundaries of Comic-Con International. By increasing the awareness of the awards(and increasing their value) it will eventually help those nominated and winning Eisner books to sell more copies. In the book trade all the major awards can do a lot to help sell more copies of a book. And honestly, right now, the comics industry awards really dont give much of a sales kick. While it is quite an honor for an artist to win the Eisner(or any other comics award) the publishers also need to benefit and sales are ultimately the most visible benefit for them.
    Ideally, it would be great to see libraries, comic shops, retailers and yes, even Amazon do more to celebrate the works of creators who are nominated or win an award.
    It’s going to take a while to make it so but with patience and support from all corners(including librarians and teachers) this will happen.
    Will Eisner gets credit for many things in the comics industry but the libraries are the ones who really made the graphic novel category what it is today. The Will Eisner Graphic Novel Prize for Libraries is a pretty cool way to recognize the efforts of those tireless librarians who continue to champion comics to the world.

  3. As a librarian who loves comics, I’m delighted to see this. It would be nice if it eventually became a competitive award like the other Eisners: recognition to a library that had done an exceptional job promoting graphic novels.

  4. I believe you(Mark and Denise)may have inspired something here. We’ve been discussing the next phase for the Eisner GN for Library Prize and it would be a pretty cool thing to move it in that direction.

    Very cool indeed!