What differentiates you from the comics/graphic novel collection at the public library?
We love the public library, and we think they are doing a great job promoting comics and creators! We are different! We are a volunteer-run community space dedicated solely to comics! We are an independent non-profit library and we use a different approach to shelve, organize, and acquire comics as a medium for storytelling. Because we are independent of any standard library system of classification, and we are focused solely on comics and graphic novels, there is a lot more flexibility in terms of what we can include in the collection and the types of accessible changes we can implement.
Currently, there is no yearlong community space in North America dedicated solely to comics accessibility. We think there should be! We want CCOL to be a space where everyone feels welcome to talk about comics, read comics, and make comics. A community space focused solely on comics accessibility would benefit existing communities, including bookstores and the public library, by creating new readerships and connecting current comics readers and creators.
We are trying to create a system where you can look at the shelves and see many comics subjects, such as autobiography, biography, history, everyday fiction, speculative fiction, horror— and more. We use stickers to highlight marginalized creators and intersectional narratives within these subjects, such as physical health and mental health narratives. We are also planning events, panels, and workshops focused solely on comics.
We want to contribute to the cultural conversation about how comics are currently being catalogued, organized, and understood in other collections in order to help bring about positive changes to current systems. Most library systems catalogue and organize comics as one entire genre, rather than a medium for telling diverse stories. Our library system is malleable, and we are open to implementing changes based on community feedback. Even though we are off to a good start, there is a lot more we would like to do! Because we are new, currently 100% volunteer-run, and operate with a very limited budget, there is a limit to what we can accomplish immediately.
Do you have a physical space? / When will you have a physical space?
We do not currently have a physical space. Toronto rent is notoriously expensive, and finding an accessible space to accommodate our growing collection will take time. We held a crowdfunding campaign to work towards affording an accessible location, and in the meantime we are planning other events, workshops, and pop-up libraries.
Please get in touch with us if you have any leads on a library space for us, sponsorship interest, or partnership opportunities. We are looking for a space that is ideally at least 900 square feet and must be accessible.
We want to find a home for our comics as soon as possible!
Are you a circulating collection?
Unfortunately, since we are a small organization, and do not have the resources to replace lost or stolen books or hold library members accountable like other library systems, we are unable to offer a circulating collection right now. Given time for growth and with more funding for acquisitions, this is something we would like to work towards in the future. We also plan to lend out portions of the collection to existing organizations in the future, such as nonprofits or charities that work with kids and young adults.
How do you plan to fund this project long-term?
We are planning for growth through grants, library membership fees, fundraising, sponsorships, and community partnerships. When we have a physical location, we will also consider alternative funding possibilities. Since we plan to be primarily volunteer-run in the future, and accept book donations, our budget will go towards rent, fair pay for artists to run workshops, and staff.
What does a CCOL membership include?
Although our physical space will be open to all, including non-members, our $5 annual membership will include access to our collection during operating hours, access to community events such as workshops and creator talks, and member discounts at other special events. We also hope to eventually include tools for making comics in the library, such as a large flatbed scanner, so the membership would also include access to these tools.
Our membership price will always be affordable for all — we have a pay it forward model for free membership so those who cannot afford the membership are never turned away. Anyone can donate an extra $5 which will go towards a membership for someone in the future.
How can I donate or contribute to the project?
Would you like to volunteer with us? View our Volunteer page for more info!
Want to donate comics? Please view our Donate Comic Books page for more info and guidelines!
Anyone can donate to us through our website!
If you are an individual or an organization that would like to sponsor this project, please do so through our website or email us with your interest and we will have a conversation from there! We have a variety of ways that we recognize sponsors at different donation tiers, including permanent website recognition, social media recognition, and in our future physical library space. Please email us for more details!
For more information about our crowdfunding campaign, view the campaign page or campaign FAQ page.
If you are looking for another way to support this project, it would mean a lot to us if you would share what we are doing! Sharing our website, social media posts, and the crowdfunding campaign would be a lovely way to help out!
Have another question?
Email us and we may add it to this page!