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January 21, 2014

ALA and the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation Partner to Offer Two Library Grants

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After the passing of Will Eisner, his widow, Ann, asked Will’s nephew Carl Gropper and his wife, Nancy, to help with both the Will Eisner Studios and the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation. That help has taken on many forms, one of the most recent being the announcement that the foundation was partnering with the American Library Association (ALA) to create the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries. Libraries have been integral not only to the success of comics, graphic novels, and manga over the past decade (and more), but also to the newfound respect the format has received from readers and the public at large. These new grants will, according to the foundation, encourage “public awareness about the rise and importance of graphic literature and honoring the creative excellence of Will Eisner.” This is an outstanding opportunity for libraries, and applications for the grant are being taken now (until February 7). Click here to apply and/or for more information.

Two grants are being offered: an Innovation Grant for a library to expand its existing graphic novel collection, and a Growth Grant for a library wanting to begin a graphic novel collection. Each grant is $4,000, as well as a collection of Eisner works, and even all the graphic novels nominated for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards at this year’s Comic-Con International. The full text for the press release is below.

 

Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation and ALA Open Applications for New Graphic Novel Grant

CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) and the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation opened applications today for the new Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries, which recognize libraries for their role in the growth of graphic literature. The collaboration extends graphic novels into a new realm by encouraging public awareness about the rise and importance of graphic literature and honoring the creative excellence of Will Eisner. In a career that spanned nearly eight decades — from the dawn of the comic book to the advent of digital comics – Will Eisner is recognized as the “Father of the Graphic Novel.” In 2011, on the 94th anniversary of Eisner’s birth, Google used an image featuring Will Eisner’s The Spirit as its logo. Information about the grant and application can be found at http://www.ala.org/gamert/will-eisner-graphic-novel-grants-libraries. The application deadline is February 7, 2014.

The Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries awards two grants – the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Innovation Grant will provide support to a library that would like to expand its existing graphic novel services and programs; the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Growth Grant will provide support to a library for the initiation of a graphic novel service or program. Each recipient will receive a $4,000 program grant plus a collection of Will Eisner’s work and biographies as well as the graphic novels nominated for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards at Comic-Con International. The grant award includes a travel stipend for a library representative to travel to the ALA Annual Conference to receive the grant from the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation.

"The Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries is a significant grant award that recognizes libraries for their contributions to the growth of graphic literature, sequential art, and comics as a literary medium. We are excited to give more opportunities to libraries to shape new ideas about graphic novels at their library,” said Carl Gropper, the President of the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation. “Will Eisner is recognized as one of America’s most influential comic artists. But this was not always the case. Will Eisner stayed true to his passion that sequential art served a wide range of needs. Today, graphic novels are one of the fastest growing categories in publishing and bookselling. These novels are more complex and varied in content than the comics that preceded them. They are subject to academic study, library and museum exhibits and prestigious literary awards.”

“Graphic novels are a vital part of storytelling and libraries have become one of the main institutions which introduce readers to the format every day,” Robin Brenner, Teen Librarian at Brookline Public Library and co-convener of ALA’s Graphic Novels & Comics in Libraries Member Initiative Group, “The Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants will help libraries across the country continue to highlight the medium, engage readers, and educate library users about the creative, inspiring Mr. Eisner and his lasting legacy.”

 

The grant is administered by Initiative Group.

ALA’s Gaming Round Table and the Graphic Novels & Comics Member

The Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation fosters innovation and creativity in graphic literature, sequential art, and comics. It encourages others to continue and build upon the legacy of Will Eisner who broke new ground in the development of visual narrative and the language of comics and was the creator of The Spirit, John Law, Lady Luck, Mr. Mystic, Uncle Sam, Blackhawk, Sheena and countless others. For more information about Will Eisner visit www.willeisner.com.

The American Library Association (ALA), the oldest and largest library association in the world, provides leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

More information on the grant and the application process is available online at http://www.ala.org/gamert/will-eisner-graphic-novel-grants-libraries . For any inquiries, please contact ALA Graphic Novels & Comics in Libraries Member Initiative Group staff liaison Tina Coleman at ccoleman@ala.org.