Manga & Anime Mania!
Last year, the most requested activity for teens at my library was a manga & anime club, so when I returned from maternity leave, that was the first program I scheduled. We meet monthly, but we could easily meet bi-weekly, or even weekly. Kids & teens who are into anime & manga are really into anime and manga, and I've discovered, much to my relief & delight, that I don't have to be an expert, or anything close to an expert, on those formats and all their minutiae.
In fact, it works to my cred-building advantage with the teens in the club to be Not The Expert on manga & anime, because I ask them to be the experts and they love it.
They loved it when I asked them to help me augment our standing order of manga titles, and they loved it even more when I came to the next month's meeting to tell them that their suggestions resulted in the addition of 10 more series titles to our collections.
They think it's hilarious when I don't know the difference between Yu Yu Hakusho and Samurai Champloo, and are impressed when I can recognize manga series by the all-female collective CLAMP. They love to explain their favorite series (i.e., give booktalks on the fly), and they were in competitive stitches over the game we played last month:
I photocopied front covers of 10 issues of different manga series, covering the titles and volume numbers. I then also photocopied, at random, two-page spreads from 8 other manga series. I challenged the manga club members to identify the different series (extra credit for correctly identifying the volume number) from the cover art and from the two-page spreads. Even the teens who got just a handful of the answers correct had a blast, and the proud winner was dubbed kamisama (goddess) of manga trivia and took home a $5 gift card to EB Games. I got the idea for the game from a fellow member of NJLA's YA Section (Kate Warhaftig, I think -- thanks, Kate!), and I bet that the club would be happy to play again in future.
Other fun activities for your anime & manga club to do:
- Watch free anime DVDs from Anime Advocates -- you'll need 10 members with viable e-mail addresses, and will need to appoint a club contact from their ranks. The DVDs come with viewing licenses and you can raffle them off after the club meeting is over.
- Hold Yu-Gi-Oh! card tournaments.
- Organize a DVD & manga swap -- get something new to you for something you're done with.
Anime & manga fans make up a constantly & rapidly growing demographic, particularly among members of Gen Y and younger -- my anime & manga club's members range in age from 12 to 24, and as leery as I was initially about that range, it has not been a problem at all -- so now is a great time to get on the ball. ICv2 News has just reported that their manga market size estimate for 2005 was on the low side, so more people are buying more manga & anime than perviously thought. If you're looking to sink some money into a manga and/or anime collection, that article is a good place to start, because it lists the top ten titles in each category.