Earlier this year, CBLDF launched the Comics Connector program, which puts educators and librarians in direct contact with their local comics industry professionals. From comics creators to publishers, the program is designed to help teachers and librarians find people to lead lectures and workshops on materials that are quickly becoming more and more incorporated in school curriculum.
In a recent article on the School Library Journal website, Carly Okyle discusses not only why this tool has become an important resource for teachers, but how new educators can get involved and take advantage of the program. “We have a literary week at the beginning of the year and the teachers are always hungry for people [to speak to students],” said Jesse Karp, a 14-year teacher in New York City who recently had George O’Connor (The Olympians) lead a discussion in a 7th grade classroom. “Most teachers I’ve spoken to are really embracing graphic novels as a platform for literacy, but they don’t have a background in that particular kind of language. So, to have a professional come in and guide students through it in a more complex way would give the kids a chance to expand their horizons.”
Over the years, CBLDF has had an initiative to not only protect the rights of comics creators and retailers, but also to educate. Along with the numerous resources that CBLDF provides—from handbooks to webseries about including comics in classrooms and libraries—the Comics Connector program is a new way to get creators and publishers directly involved in the educational process and to talk about the books that they create. As Okyle writes, “The Comics Connector is a practical addition to CBLDF’s many initiatives.”
With the new school year just on the horizon, now is the best time to look into taking advantage of the program. As comics creator Jason Little, who teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York City said, “For those of us who like to draw comics and teach, it’s pretty awesome. We’re pretty excited about it.”
Likewise, as Karp attests, “For a place whose primary mission is the support of the life of creators, to be moving in this direction—connecting the comic world to the larger world—is a great move that can only serve the industry and the world at large.”