SummerMania!! An epidemic of fun

This article by Librarian James Walter was originally published in the Arizona Daily Star on June 22, 2014.

As a librarian, I am a salesperson.

The highlight of my day is when you walk from my library with a cool book in your hand or the smile on your face following an awesome program. Library salesperson is an easy job. I do not work on commission. Everything at the library is free, so go ahead…judge a book by its cover! Try an art class!

In the meantime, I hope I can share with you all the books, movies and music I love. And believe me, I spend my day surrounded by all kinds of awesome. I better not see anyone going home bored and empty-handed.

I am a gamer. An obsessive reader. A nerd and a techie. I love the fact that the Star Wars audiobooks have rockin’ theme music and that we started offering Minecraft at our branches. I have read the One Piece manga volumes through four times. And I promise you, as a library salesperson, that you will have a great time at SummerMania!!, an annual event that the library has created and hosted for four years.

SummerMania!! combines all the things I love (which makes sense, since I helped plan it). Cosplay. Video games. Kung-fu. Virtual reality. A change to suck knowledge from some seriously talented authors and artists like an art vampire.

But most of all, I love SummerMania!! because of the community.

In true convention style, we encourage you to dress up for these events. Last year I saw some outstanding costumes: samurai warriors, cat ladies, and superheroes. (I cosplayed as the guy running around taping up signs). I saw the creation of great art and lamented my stick-figure-only abilities. I saw old friends playing Smash Brothers and new friends swapping manga.

As a librarian-salesperson, the only thing I love selling more than a good book is community. I see the library as a community building, a place to learn and share. In this regard, I see SummerMania!! as a place to learn and share all the awesome, cool, fun things we love! If you see me at these events, I might share my opinion that virtual reality will be just as big in five years as smartphones are now. (I may or may not have you try the really scary virtual reality demos). I might ask you to join my Starfleet crew as we battle our way across the galaxy in an awesome five player spaceship game. But I will ask you if you are having fun…because that is the point of SummerMania!!

So if you believe a librarian salesperson who does not work on commission, I hope to see you at the final two SummerMania!! events. They are designed for young adults (teens and 20s), but all ages will have a good time!

toMorrowMania – Eckstrom-Columbus Library – Saturday, June 28, 2014 6-8 pm
• This is the convention for all you sci-fi lovers. Starship gaming, Oculus Rift virtual reality, NASA demonstrations, laser tag, and Star Wars DnD. Basically: pew-pew lasers.

MegaMania – Pima Community College Downtown Campus – Saturday, July, 2014 12 2-6 pm
• This is the convention for everyone. Manga, comics, gaming, writing and art workshops, Japanese game shows, Giant Angry birds…you get the points. It’s a ton of fun. Basically: you should come to this!

James Walter is the teen librarian at the Eckstrom-Columbus Library. You just read all about the things he enjoys about life. Find out more information about SummerMania!! on our website or call (520) 791-4010.