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Literacy And Comics At San Diego Public Library’s Annual Offering For Educators, Librarians

A sign directs the public and San Diego Comic-Con attendees to previous Comic...

Credit: San Diego Public Library

Above: A sign directs the public and San Diego Comic-Con attendees to previous Comic Conference for Educators and Librarian programming in July 2018. This year's educator and librarian programming will take place virtually as part of Comic-Con@Home.

One of the coolest things San Diego has to offer each Comic-Con is its annual off-site side-fling, programmed by the San Diego Public Library: the Comic Conference for Educators and Librarians.

The free, SDCC-affiliated conference usually includes four days of programming at the downtown library and is a great way to dig in to pop culture, books and art without a badge — and yes, experience a little of the downtown crowd chaos and energy. But not this year.

RELATED: Pop-Culture Phenomenon Goes Digital With Comic-Con@Home

With Comic-Con@Home filling our nerd hearts with digital programming, Comic Conference for Educators and Librarians will also switch to virtual panels, premiering on Wednesday but available on-demand afterwards.

Generally a chance to showcase the ways educators and librarians use graphic novels and comics to promote literacy, the conference is divided into separate sections for different industries relating to literacy, including libraries, publishing, K-12 education and higher education, but with the panels condensed to one day and Comic-Con@Home's all-access spirit, the themes are interspersed throughout the line-up.

For ongoing resources, the conference also hosts a digital tour of the San Diego Central Library's zine collection, and Califia Group, a nonprofit consortium of libraries across California, offers a free digital comic and graphic novel library, now through Aug. 31.

Photo credit: San Diego Public Library

A previous panel at the Comic Conference for Educators and Librarians at the San Diego Central Library in July 2018.

This year's panels are a great way to explore to the literary, humanities and sociological power of comics and graphic novels, and here are some highlights:

Note: all panels will be available to watch through the library's website of the Comic-Com@Home YouTube channel, and you can rewatch after the premiere time slot.

GeekED: Re-Storied: Re-Imagining Creative Privilege

This panel premieres at 3 p.m. Wednesday, and highlights the changing landscape of storytelling and how to empower people to tell their stories in new and innovative ways, including the performing arts, digital platforms and gaming.

Teaching and Learning with Comics

Also at 3 p.m., educators and comic creators come together to discuss practical ways to incorporate graphic novels and comics in the classroom.

Comics as a Conduit

Many of us learned the difference (albeit sometimes not very nuanced) between good and evil through comics and pop culture, and at 4 p.m., four powerful authors (Henry Barajas, Rodney Barnes, Darcy Van Poelgeest and David F. Walker) will discuss how comics handle political issues, environmental activism, inequity, mental health awareness and more.

GeekEd: Watchmen and the Cruelty of Masks

Speaking of political issues, what is a comic without masks? This GeekEd panel, available from 4 p.m. on, tackles the current debate about masks, using the story of Watchmen as an influence.

Conspiracy Theories and Propaganda Throughout Popular Culture

At 5 p.m., a handful of experts draw on science literacy and pop culture prowess to explore the always popular genre of conspiracy theories, misinformation and more.

New Kids Comics from Eisner Award Publishers

Also premiering at 5 p.m., get ready to dazzle the kids in your neighborhood with all your new insights on brand new comics.

Comics on Campus: Fandom at Academia

In the higher ed world, check out this exploration of how geek culture and fandom can be utilized in learning, plus insight in the future of comics on college campuses. Premieres at 6 p.m.

Want more? Check out the full list of panels here. And if this week isn't enough for you, The Virtual Library Comic Convention takes place on Thursday, July 30.

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Julia Dixon Evans
Arts Calendar Editor and Producer

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI write the weekly KPBS Arts newsletter and edit and produce the KPBS Arts calendar. I am interested in getting San Diegans engaged with the diversity of art and culture made by the creative people who live here.

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