By Steve Roark (USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs Office)June 1, 2011
STUTTGART, Germany -- Usually, libraries are known as quiet sanctuaries of classic literature, but on May 21, the library on Patch Barracks decided to shake things up when they hosted Free Comic Book Day.
Created in 2002, Free Comic Book Day is an annual event hosted by comic book stores across North America. Its purpose is to encourage new customers to visit the stores by handing out free comic books.
Thomas Edgar thought that concept would work well for libraries, too.
Edgar, a library technician at the Patch Barracks facility, took the idea and expanded on it. He organized a super hero costume workshop for children, a costume contest and super hero trivia contest. He also invited the 501st Legion, German Garrison, to attend.
The 501st Legion is a fictional military unit from the Star Wars franchise. It’s made up of dedicated fans who gather at events and charities wearing authentic-looking costumes from the Star Wars movies. On this day, stormtroopers and imperial pilots wandered through the aisles, signing autographs and posing for photos.
While the members of the 501st gave the front of the library a Death Star ambiance, pint-sized super heroes were busy in the back room making capes and masks, and playing a Star Wars computer game on the big screen. At the costume contest, which was judged by members of the 501st, everyone walked away with a prize.
“I like the stormtroopers,” said 5-year-old Evan Quinn, who sported a Batman costume. “I wish I had remembered my Darth Vader costume.”
Some people might wonder what comic books have to do with a library, but Edgar says the two go together very well.
“We see people checking out literary classics and graphic novels right alongside each other,” he said.
He hopes events like this will draw in members of the community who might not know about the library’s other offerings, such as game nights, preschool story time and even a writer’s support group.
When asked if he would consider doing this again next year, Edgar replied, “Yes, definitely.”
Behind him, a four-foot caped crusader left with an armful of books and videos.