For the month of November, the Taft College library’s theme has been Comic Con.
Terri Smith, the head librarian, suggested the idea as a way to recognize the Bakersfield Comic Con that took place the weekend of November 12-13 at the Kern County Fairgrounds to celebrate comic book and other culturally popular characters.
For decorations, library technicians Mary Decker and Miranda Tofte, along with the help of some of their student workers, spent a week creating several hand-traced and painted cardboard cutouts of well-liked characters. These are exhibited around the library and include a Spider-Man mounted on the brick wall behind the circulation desk, two standing minions from Despicable Me, and a Yoda yielding a lightsaber. Additionally, there is even a very realistic cardboard model of the TARDIS from the show Doctor Who on display. The unnamed pair of superheroes from the library’s Banned Books theme in September are also making a reappearance to go along with this month’s ambiance.
“Comic Con is for any TV, comic, or movie character—any that has a fan base,” Decker explained. She also stated that “a lot of libraries participate in this” whenever the event is happening in their cities or towns. Decker also put together an educational poster board about Comic Con, full of photos of comic book characters and costumed fans as well as facts regarding what the convention is, where it began, its evolution, and information about the Bakersfield event. The display is surrounded by several books that are available to be checked out, all of which relate to superheroes, comic books, cosplay, and Comic Con in general.
As a fun way to incorporate student and staff participation, the library also held a trivia contest each day from November 14-18. Every day, a new library-related question pertaining to a popular film or television show was both posted in the middle of the library and emailed to students along with three choices to choose from for the answer. Those who answered correctly were entered into a drawing for that day, from which four people were chosen as the winners, each to receive the prize of a free comic book. If patrons answered all of the daily questions right, they were also eligible to be entered into the grand-prize drawing at the end of the week for a single person to win the movie Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle. The activity consistently proved itself very popular as more than 50 people entered the contest each day.
Another way the library staff commemorated Comic Con was by coming to work as their own favorite comic book characters one day. Tofte wore a Supergirl costume while Smith was dressed as Batgirl whose character is fittingly a librarian as her day job. Tina Erdei, a substitute in the library, was clad as a version of Catwoman.
“I enjoyed dressing up for work, and I used [my costume] again for the Bakersfield Comic Con,” Erdei, who made her own outfit, said. Her rendering of Catwoman was inspired by the Tim Burton directed film Batman Returns, and the intricate stitching tracing throughout the fabric of her costume was all done by hand.
Though the entertainment and excitement of the Comic Con theme in the library will soon be coming to an end, Decker confirmed, “We will be doing this again next year” and reminded students to “stay tuned for next month’s theme” which will center on stress relief techniques to help manage the pressure of upcoming final exams.