The American Library Association (ALA) and the Will & Ann Eisner Family Foundation announced the winners of the 2016 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries: the Atlantic City Free Public Library, Atlantic City, NJ; and he Birchwood School Library, Columbia, SC.

Funded by the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation, the annual grants disperse funds in two categories: Will Eisner Graphic Novel Growth Grant and the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Innovation Grant. The Growth Grant provides support to a library that would like to expand existing services and programs related to graphic novels. The Innovation Grant provides support for the initiation of a service, program or initiative related to graphic novels.

Each winner will receive a $2,000 voucher to purchase graphic novels from the Diamond Book Distributors, $1,000 to host a graphic novel-themed event, and a $1,000 travel stipend to attend the 2016 ALA Annual Conference. Also included is the Will Eisner Library (a graphic novel collection of Will Eisner’s work and biographies) and copies of the graphic novels nominated for this year’s Will Eisner Awards (see “The 2016 Eisner Award Nominees”).

The Atlantic City Library will receive funding for its “A Day of Diversity in Graphic Novels,” a plan they will present in collaboration with the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention. The event will include workshops as well as a discussion program on the history of black comic characters and creators.

The Birchwood School Library will receive funding for its “Our Story Told Through Graphic Illustrations: The View from Behind the Fence” project in collaboration with two professors from the University of South Carolina’s School of Library and Information Science and the Birchwood School in the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice. The goal is to provide incarcerated youth with an opportunity to develop visual literacy skills and an awareness of careers in the visual arts.

The annual grants are administered by ALA's Games and Gaming Round Table and the Graphic Novels & Comics in Libraries Member Initiative Group. The winners will be honored Saturday, June 25 at the ALA 2016 Annual Conference in Orlando, FL.