April 11th, 2018

Ask A Cartoonist: Library Stories

by Tea

It’s National School Librarians Day!

I know that when I was a kid, I loved to hide in between the shelves in my school library and read comics in the back of magazines. It’s one of the first places where I got to read comics that weren’t in my hometown paper.

Libraries are fantastic places for anyone who loves to read, so in honor of school librarians everywhere, I’ve asked our cartoonists to share their favorite library stories, memories, and comics.

John Rose, Barney Google and Snuffy Smith:

I am very thankful for libraries. I grew up in several small cities in Virginia long before the internet. The local libraries in these areas were the first places I remember seeing books about how to draw cartoons and also books about comic art and comic history. These books were a true inspiration to me a young cartoonist. A big, bodacious thank you to libraries everywhere!

Bill Holbrook, Kevin and Kell, On the Fastrack, and Safe Havens:

Dethany volunteers regularly on weekends at her local library, participating in all the ways they help their communities.

Terri Libenson, The Pajama Diaries:

Here’s a recent interview I did, specifically about libraries for Geauga County Public Library’s comics and graphic novels month! 

Bill Griffith, Zippy the Pinhead:

Before the interweb, I used to routinely go down the the local library (then, mostly, San Francisco’s Main Branch) to research things for my strip.
If I didn’t have a book on my shelves with a photo of a 1948 Chevy, for instance, the library would provide one. I remember using the the copy machine there with its semi-slimy, chemically-smelling paper. It took dimes only.
Now, I rarely have need for a library for research—I just Google. I print out anything I need on nice bond paper. Still, when I pass a library, I go in and look around. I miss the card catalog, with all of its odd notations.
I also still enlist the help of real librarians–online. Just last week, a search for a photo of a certain hotel in London, Ontario I needed (for my new book on Schlitzie the Pinhead) led me to a librarian in that city who came up with exactly what I wanted (there was nothing online—there are still umpteen billion things still not digitized)

Zippy, on the other hand, values books almost entirely for their fondling value.

Alex Hallatt, Arctic Circle:

I often do strips about libraries, as I LOVE libraries. They are fantastic places to write, as well as read and they are usually warmer than our house in winter (coming up in New Zealand). This is my favourite library strip: 

I’ll be running some cartooning workshops in our local Lyttelton library, starting at the end of this month. The first one is booked out – it’s a small library!

Isabella Bannerman, Six Chix:

It’s interesting that you asked about libraries, because an art group that I am a part of is planning a show in June in a library, about libraries.

Here is the link to our blog.

And here is a sketch of a friend reading a book about Georgia O’Keefe – at our local library.


Ron Ferdinand, Dennis the Menace:

Hank always had a LOT of fun with Dennis and libraries!

Stephanie Piro, Six Chix:

Nothing could be dearer to me or more important than Libraries, having been a patron from the time I could read! I’ve been a Librarian for around 16 years. I started when I walked into my local library to check something out and walked away with a job. For the last 5 or so years I’ve worked in a city Library. My coworkers are smart, dedicated and knowledgeable and can help you find a book, recommend a film, steer you to the right research materials or help you find a place to stay for the night. Our Inter-library loan person can locate materials for you even if she has to go to out of state sources. Libraries offer people, who can’t afford their own, use of public computers. If you saw how much ours are used you would realize what an important service this is. We are warming and cooling stations in extreme weather. We are art galleries for a variety of artists and groups of all abilities. We also have to deal with patrons of every kind from the ones you can’t wait to see walk in the door to the most demanding ones we’d love to hide from! We treat everyone politely and with respect. I could keep going about how wonderful and important libraries are! A good library is truly the heart of any community. I have used libraries and literary based subjects in many cartoons over the years. This one gives you an inside peek into a day behind the desk!







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