BCAF Librarians & Educators Day

This year we're offering a free professional development opportunity for local librarians and educators as part of Boise Comic Arts Festival (BCAF)! Librarians & Educators Day will be held Friday, September 16 from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. at the Idaho State Museum (610 Julia Davis Dr).

The goal of the course is to establish a comics community of librarians and educators to foster the use of comics as a classroom tool for enhancing curriculum, inspiring creativity, and empowering young readers. This course will help attendees incorporate comics and comic art making into lesson plans and discuss ways to add comics and graphic novels to school or class libraries. Attendees will also leave with material recommendations for different subject areas, resources for readers advisory for comics and graphic novels, and strategies for addressing parent concerns about these materials.

Lunch will be included, and there will be an option to receive one Professional Development credit through Northwest Nazarene University by completing coursework following Librarians & Educators Day. Professional Development credits will be paid for by BCAF.

Librarians & Educators Day is completely free for attendees, but registration is required. Registration is now closed for this course. Please send questions about the course to Maggie Dumont at mdumont@cityofboise.org.



8:00-8:30 a.m. - Coffee Chat 

8:30-8:45 a.m. – Introductions

8:45-9:45 a.m. - The Why of Using Comics in the Classroom with Dane Johns. Graphic novels, from the very first Superhero in 1938, have always been political. Before that almost all cartoons were political in nature. Comics were the first entertainment media to treat drug addiction as a medical issue, not a criminal one. These are just a few of the many reasons why I choose to use comics, especially Superhero stories, in my University Foundations classes. Join me as we cover the five W’s (and one H) of using comics in the classroom.  

9:45-10:45 a.m. - Concurrent Breakouts 

  • Comics Making Craft & Process – Rye Hickman, Brian Schirmer, Justin Zimmerman. The process of creating comics ranges from solo artists self-publishing zines and webcomics to large corporate titles produced by teams spread out across the globe. Join a panel of professional creators as they discuss the work involved in bringing a comics project to fruition. 
  • Graphic Novel Collection Development & Defense – Tully Gerlach, Huda Shaltry, Erin Kennedy. Library collections have been a hot topic of conversation lately, with a lot of the discussion focusing on graphic novels. Librarians Tully Gerlach, Huda Shaltry, and Erin Kennedy will explore how to develop a robust graphic novel collection and provide tools to assist library staff in responding to challenges and patron concerns.

10:45-11:00 a.m. – Break

11:00 a.m.-noon. – Just Roll with It – Veronica Agarwal & Lee Durfey-Lavoie. Maggie just wants to get through her first year of middle school. But between finding the best after-school clubs, trying to make friends, and avoiding the rumored monster on school grounds, she’s having a tough time…so she might need a little help from her twenty-sided dice. But what happens if Maggie rolls the wrong number? Just Roll with It is a contemporary middle-grade graphic about how dealing with anxiety and OCD can affect everyday life. Creators Veronica Agarwal and Lee Durfey-Lavoie will discuss their approach to creating their graphic novel and how it might be used in the classroom.  

Noon-1:00 p.m. – Lunch


1:00-2:00 p.m. – Concurrent Breakouts

  • Creating Interactive RPGs for the Classroom – Dane Johns. We know that students will retain 10% or less of their reading and our lectures but are likely to retain 75% or more of what they practice or teach others. This means that if you want to drive your point home, it's important to have your students practice what you teach. One of the best way to do this is to turn your lessons into a game. My university students participate in two roleplaying games each semester, where they put the content into practice. Join me as I talk about crafting RPG games for your classroom. 
  • Middle Grade Comics Roundtable – Madeline McGrane, Dani Colman, Mat Heagerty. Middle Grade comics are booming like never before…but you don’t have to tell these creators. Dani Colman (The Unfinished Corner), Madeline McGrane (The Accursed Vampire),and Mat Heagerty (Lumberjackula) will talk about their experiences creating comics for kids, how they use different genres to tell their stories, and what the future may hold for this growing segment of the comics industry.

2:00-3:00 p.m. – Publisher Spotlight: First Second Books – Mark Siegel. Mark Siegel is the founder and creative and editorial director of Macmillan’s graphic novel house. First Second offers an ambitious collection in every age category, in a wide range of themes and styles, with talent from all over the world. First Second has garnered an unmatched array of literary awards, starred reviews, and bestsellers—including for the original works of National Book Award Finalist and Printz Winner Gene Luen Yang, and beloved bestselling authors such as Vera Brosgol, George O’Connor, Sara Varon, Jen Wang, Shannon Hale, LeUyen Pham, the McElroys, and so many more.

3:00-3:15 p.m. – Break 

3:15-4:15 p.m. – Concurrent Breakouts

  • Creator Spotlight: Terry Blas and Josh Trujillo. Join us for a chat with Terry Blas (Lifetime Passes, Reptil) and Josh Trujillo (Washington’s Gay General, Hulkling & Wiccan) as they discuss the challenges and opportunities in writing for both independent and mainstream comic books. Each will reflect on their experiences, as well as the obstacles facing queer Latino creators in the industry.
  • Making Comics with Kids – Jess Smart Smiley. Jess Smart Smiley is a joke—seriously. He makes rad pictures with his bare hands and has helped thousands of children, teens, and adults around the world to create their first comics. Jess is the creator of Let's Make Comics!: An Activity Book to Create, Write, and Draw Your Own Cartoons, which debuted at #1 on Amazon in 4 categories. Jess loves sharing his passion for writing, drawing, and storytelling with schools, libraries, bookstores, and students of all ages and skill levels. 

4:15-5:00 p.m. – Final Thoughts


For those seeking Professional Development credit, they will need to complete some post-course homework that will be due on October 1. Participants will be sent home with sample readings and a sample assignment that demonstrates how graphic novels might be incorporated into the classroom. Using these as a guide, the participants will create their own signature assignment that they can work into their own classrooms.

Contact Us

Phone: (208) 972-8200
Renewal by Phone: (208) 972-8980
TTY: 1-800-377-3529

Library Director:  Jessica Dorr

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