by Kayla Cook, Media Relations & Communications Specialist
Celebrate all media and fandoms this April at our second Library Con!
“It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… LPL CON!” The first thought one might have in terms of fandom conventions or “cons” might be Comic Con in San Diego, opens a new window or New York, opens a new window, Anime Expo in California, opens a new window, or Kansas City's Planet Comicon, opens a new window. The Library is bringing the con experience to Lawrence for free–and library staff on hand will highlight library resources that run year-round along the way.
“Cons typically focus on any ‘alternative’ entertainment like the comics, anime and manga, movie franchises like Star Wars and DC/Marvel—fandoms like that. We're excited to offer a free, accessible, and welcoming con right here in Lawrence!" Hannah Parks, Youth Services Assistant said.
LPL Con offers attendees a chance to browse library materials that suit their interests—from graphic novels to gaming and movie/TV series box sets. Whether a seasoned con-goer, avid cosplayer, or a curious community member, there is something for everyone at LPL, which houses your favorite superhero publications and animanga.
LPL Con offers more than media. Attendees can gain knowledge from writers, illustrators, cosplayers, and other experts as panelists, special guests, and vendors. Attendees may also purchase gently used media from the Library Friends & Foundation, fandom goodies and art from local vendors, and treats from some of Lawrence’s best eats.
“Libraries and conventions both act as conduits. They connect people to each other, to storytelling, and to art... This is where the missions of libraries and cons intersect.” —Hannah Parks, Youth Services Assistant
Why a con at the library?
“Why host a con at a library?” you may ask. Ms. Parks shared the following: “Libraries and conventions both act as conduits–They connect people to each other, to storytelling, and to art. Why do libraries host art galleries? Why do they hire performers and musicians? Because they are a hub for creation and learning. This is where the missions of libraries and cons intersect.”
Conventions are more similar to libraries than one may initially think. Both offer access to information and cultural exchange. “Comics received heavy pushback for featuring diverse voices, sharing new perspectives, and being widely accessible. The first cons were created in response to this; a safe place where comic writers, artists, and fans could gather and share their love of the medium,” Parks notes. LPL Con offers this space for free!
LPL Con is excited to bring panelists and performers as well as expert writers and illustrators like Ande Parks to speak with the Lawrence community.
Hannah Parks is part of the LPL Con team and the daughter of comic artist Ande Parks, known for his ink work on Green Arrow and his writing on the graphic novel Ciudad, now adapted into the Extraction series starring Chris Hemsworth. Ms. Parks is an artist in her own right and designed the LPL Con logo, mentioning the following about the logo design process: “San Diego Comic-Con has the most iconic logo and promotional material. I used it as a reference when I created the LPL Con logo for last year, along with Planet’s previous logo that focuses on screentone textures and NY’s bold color scheme.”
Feel like an “info superhero” at LPL Con!
LPL Con has two event dates: a Teens Only event on Friday, April 12th from 6 - 9 PM and an All Ages event on Saturday, April 13th from 2 - 7 PM. LPL Con is seeking 2024 panelists, vendors, cosplayers, and special guests. LPL Con Applicants, please submit by Friday, March 1st at lplks.org/lpl-con.
LPL Con may even be a teenager’s introduction into using the Library regularly. “Cons are usually more geared toward adults and some cons have reputations for being particularly not family-friendly. This is why the family-friendly aspect of LPL Con is so important to our audience,” Ms. Parks added. “Parents see a con that they feel safe bringing their children to. I know a few teens whose first introduction to the library was Teen Con night, and they now regularly attend Teen Zone programming and have joined our Discord or DND group.”
Stop by LPL Con to learn about the con scene, buy used comic books and manga or Sci-Fi and Fantasy favorites to support the Lawrence Public Library Friends & Foundation, and–while you’re at it–sign up or renew your library card.
Watch last year's LPL Con trailer, opens a new window on the Library's YouTube Channel.
View photos of last year's LPL Con here, opens a new window.
About Lawrence Public Library
Lawrence Public Library (LPL for short) is a community hub that believes in the power of connecting with each other through shared knowledge and resources. Located in the heart of Downtown Lawrence, Kansas, we are committed to providing a space where our community can learn, connect, create, and grow through access to our vast collections, resources, services, programs, and knowledgeable staff. The library is supported by tax dollars, record-breaking book sales and philanthropic efforts by the LPL Friends & Foundation, and the dedicated efforts of more than 300 volunteers. All are welcome.
LPL Con — Teens Only | FRI, Apr 12 from 6 - 9 PM
LPL Con — All Ages | SAT, Apr 13 from 2 - 7 PM
*Event links with more information coming soon.