(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — Everybody is invited to let their inner-geek shine at Erie County Public Libraries all week long.
LIBCON, the annual festival at Erie County Public Libraries, has been turned into a week-long event this year. The event began on April 25 and multiple libraries will feature activities and events through April 30.
“This is a really big undertaking. When it was the Erie COMICON before the pandemic, we would have upwards of 1,000 people in here, all in one day. There were 70 vendors and 50 people signed up for the cosplay contest,” said teen services librarian Tammy Blount. “Last year, it was virtual, but people were a little bit Zoomed out.”
That led Erie County Public Libraries to re-envision its annual event. Instead of being all about comics, and instead of being a typical comic convention, why not expand it? Blount said the library decided to become “program focused, instead of being focused on commercial vendors.” That led to a more inclusive event.
This year, the library also is asking the community to send in pictures that answer the question, “What do you geek?”
“We’re going to make a giant collage of it. And it’s just what you’re into – you could be a geek about woodworking, or a geek about baking. It could be anything – it doesn’t have to be superheroes,” said library assistant Abby Fetzner.
The library is inviting everybody in the community to come experience a convention and more at LIBCON. At the Raymond M. Blasco, MD Memorial Library, a telephone booth styled like the long-running science fiction television show “Dr. Who” is set up next to a Funko Pop (collectibles and figurines) display. Beside it is a horror/haunted-themed Escape room created by the library staff.
“(Commercial) Escape rooms are really expensive – the point of LIBCON is for young people to be exposed to things they can’t afford or that they don’t have transportation to, or even to things they don’t know about yet,” Blount said. “The library provides an equal playing field. You don’t have to have money to participate.”
In the past, the library has hosted “Fandom Faceoff.” The event poses a scenario and participants then debate. As an example, they might say “Batman vs. Spiderman,” Blount said.
“It’s like as close as you can get to a library fight club – it just gets wild,” she said.
“I never expected two teens to argue so passionately about Daffy Duck vs. Donald Duck,” Fetzner said.
LIBCON also will have take-away projects for people who can’t stay.
For news delivered right to you, subscribe to JET 24/FOX 66/YourErie.com’s breaking, daily news & severe weather email lists
Saturday, April 30, is the flagship day for LIBCON. Several events will be held throughout the day. Events will be held at Blasco Library, Iroquois Avenue Branch Library and Lincoln Community Center Library.