Monday, August 28, 2017

Librarian Post: Cosplay Meetup = Adults and Teens at the Library!

So the great question at many libraries seems to be "how do we get teens and younger adults interested in our library programs?"

One type of program you can try, which has been very successful for my library is a Cosplay group.

Some of you may be asking yourselves: "what the heck is Cosplay?" Cosplay is the art of creating costumes that resemble your favorite characters from a variety of fandoms. Most people who Cosplay do so for conventions such as Comic Cons or Anime conventions. There are a huge variety of Cosplay subgroups and philosophies, and I will not even try to get into them here, because there are just so darn many. Suffice it to say those who Cosplay do so in large part for the social aspect of it. Going to a convention in costume can make you a star for the day. People ask to take your picture, and you get to embody a character you love and admire. Storebought costumes from places like Party City are NOT considered genuine Cosplay, and Cosplayers are expected (and in some cases REQUIRED) to make their own costumes and prepare their own makeup in order to enter into the competitions that the conventions offer.

By they way, I know this stuff because I AM a Cosplayer. I frequently attend conventions in several states and have cosplayed a variety of characters from different fandoms including:
Carmen Sandiego (old-school video game heroine/villainess)
Esmeralda (Disney leading lady and non-princess from The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Kiki (anime character from Kiki's Delivery Service)
Rowena Ravenclaw (founder of Ravenclaw House in the Harry Potter universe)

If you have been reading this post and all of this information is brand new to you, and you are not a Cosplayer and have never worn a costume that was not store bought, the best advice I can give you is DO NOT host this type of program by yourself. Find a local cosplayer (there may even be one or more on staff!) that is willing to partner with you to run a program like this. Geeks (yes, we call ourselves Geeks, but if you are not one of us, you don't get to call us that) want to learn from fellow Geeks, and will come to a Cosplay program if they feel they are going to either learn from someone more seasoned than they are, or be able to share ideas with others.

Cosplay is a very fast-growing hobby and has been starting to hit the mainstream more and more thanks to shows like Heroes of Cosplay and Cosplay Melee. If there are any Comic Cons in your area, if your library or town has ever hosted a Con, I guarantee there are Cosplayers or would-be Cosplayers in the environs.

In the next few posts, I will share how I run my program, some other ways you could try a Cosplay program, what you will need and how to go about getting the word out.

May the force be with you! Here are some shots of me in my Cosplays.

Me as Kiki with a home-made bow.

Carmen Sandiego with props. 

Esmeralda. Bpyfriend is Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. 



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