Manga Club Update

I am so lucky. And my teens in our Manga Club are lucky too. I mentioned a while ago that we were having a volunteer guest speaker come to our Manga Club meetings. And I am so glad he did!


I was contacted out of the blue by a young man who heard about our Teen Manga Club but was disappointed because he is now too old to participate (he is in his mid-twenties).*So he wanted to know if he could volunteer. Of course my first step was an interview because I had to know his qualifications and I had to check him out to make sure I was comfortable having him around teens in the library. It turns out he passed with flying colors. Polite and super enthusiastic about all things manga and Japanese, he also has a ton of knowledge and even coursework in Japanese culture and language. So of course I welcomed him with open arms and I hope he now becomes a regulart part of our Manga Club.

I believe it is all thanks to our volunteer Martin that we have had the same group of teens return to Manga Club three months in a row! Our December meeting was OUTSTANDING. Martin brought visual aids for the kids, showed them awesome youtube clips, and even did a demonstration of Kendo in full costume. He showed the kids the super cool swords he is making for cosplay at an upcoming convention. He talked to them about Japanese holidays, game shows, and pop culture. A huge thank you to Martin for volunteering his time to interact with young people who share his interests! The excitement in the room when he is talking is so much greater than I could ever generate with my limited knowledge on this topic. I’m really looking forward to our Spring programs now!

Of course, I just got lucky and this opportunity fell into my lap. But it has reinforced my idea that it is always a fantastic idea to reach out into the community and use the experts in your area. Does your university have an Asian or Japanese Studies department you could contact? Is there a martial arts studio that would come and give a demonstration? Talk to comic book store owners in your community, talk to anyone and every one to weed out those experts who are passionate about the things theĀ  teens in your library are passionate. They are such an excellent resource for building that passion and knowledge in your teens and making the library a place they want to be.


*And, as another aside, isn’t it a shame that libraries don’t target a lot of programming to this audience (the young professionals)? Though I have seen it done exceptionally well recently in places that have Books and Beer book clubs or trivia nights. I think programs like that here at my library would be AWESOME!


Cosplay Accessories

I have a monthly teen Manga Club. It’s still pretty new. I did a couple programs in the Spring to test the waters and since September we have been doing it every month. So October was really only our second meeting, but I’m really starting to get into a good structure for the club.

Last month I read Mike Buono’s post on the YALSA Blog about rethinking programing and one idea really stuck with me. He says that teens really just want a place to get together and talk and hang out, and maybe something cool to do too. He recommends that you plan 3 things and let the rest of the program take its course. Just planning 3 things helps my tenancy to want to over-structure everything and plan out every last minute.

So for October’s manga club, my three things were 1) watch anime, 2) make animal cosplay headbands, and 3) make duct tape swords. Okay, and I guess there was also a number 4) eat pocky (of course!).

Below are some pictures of the teen’s fantastic creations!


I’m really excited for November and December’s Manga Club meetings! I had two volunteers from the community who have studied Japanese culture reach out to me about coming to our programs. I think their knowledge and enthusiasm is going to really get the teens excited, especially since I personally do not read manga for fun and know next to nothing about it.