I assume you have already read my riveting post on all of the planning that went into my library’s Free Comic Book Day/ Star Wars Day event, right? Good. Now we can talk about the fun part, the actual event! It’s kind of crazy to think about all of the planning that went into a two hour event but this event was the biggest one that the library has ever done while the library was open. We have done teen lock-ins before with much success but like the name suggests, it was locked down. Since we’d be open, live and taking over the whole building, we had to do a lot of planning but it all paid off.
It was hard to keep track of how many people showed up but it was definitely a few hundred people. Luckily we had several awesome volunteers throughout the facility to make sure everything ran smoothly. If you do a similar event, you definitely want to get lots of volunteers and I’ll illustrate why in a minute.
We set up our Free Comic Book table on the third floor in Adult Non-Fiction, so there would be lots of room for people to stand in line without being in the way of other participants.
We put up comic book trivia questions on the ends of all the bookshelves so people would have something to do while they waited in line for their comics.
We handed out cards to people getting comics. They could get it stamped at the library and our partner shop, Hall of Heroes to enter a raffle for a free box of comics! This was our way to drive crowds to both places. We ran out of cards in the first hour! We didn’t expect so many people to show up, next year we will know to plan for WAY more! Our partner at the Hall of Heroes reported getting A LOT more people in the shop this year because of the promotions and partnerships, which bodes well for library/ comics shop collaborations.
Members of the 501 Great Lakes Garrison arrived to take photos with our patrons! It was about as adorable and amazing as you would expect. Those costumes are totally legit too and Darth Vader was giant and very scary. If you’re going to have legitimate cosplayers with legitimate costumes come to your library, make sure you have a volunteer there to manage the crowd. Those costumes are expensive and sometimes people get a little too excited and try to hit them with lightsabers. Luckily we had somebody who was willing to be Darth Vader’s bodyguard.
We also had artist Timm Umstead on hand who was drawing and handing out prints to all of our participants.
Randy Scott, Librarian at Michigan State University and caretaker of the largest comic book archive in the world came to talk about his collection and about comics in academia.
Library staff member, Wes Umstead gave a talk about the process of writing comics and all the different kinds of comics that are out there.
We had a costume contest where the winners won free movie passes and the runner up won a signed graphic novel. They were all EXTREMELY adorable.
The Winner was the family that dressed up like Star Wars Characters. Mega adorable.
It was a lot of fun and very well received. We got a lot of positive feedback from everyone involved, including the patrons. I think we will definitely do it again next year!
I couldn’t get any of my Vine videos to embed properly but I made a few during the event if you’d like to check them out!