April 2024: The Nerd Is The Word

Column Description: The Nerd Word is here at the crossroads of libraries and pop culture. We’ll be talking about comics, gaming, fandom, and how we’re bringing them to our libraries. We’ll also be talking about pop culture and advocacy: how do you advocate for your communities through a pop culture lens? Do you look for popular materials in different languages? Make sure your collections are diverse and inclusive. Fostering a love of fun and play is one of the best parts of what we do: let’s share how we do it here at The Nerd Word.

I just returned from four days at GaryCon; an annual celebration of Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax. Held in Wisconsin, a bunch of us tabletop gaming fans spent four days playing all sorts of RPGs, from Dungeons & Dragons to Hunter: The Reckoning, from Call of Cthulhu to Dungeon Crawl Classics. Naturally, being a librarian, I wanted to visit the local library: in this case, the Lake Geneva Library, home of the Gary Gygax Reading Room and Gygax’s “Throne of Reading,” donated by his widow. Gygax’s Appendix N, included in the AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide, is a list of readings that inspired him as he created D&D, and the reading room has its own Appendix N collection, which got me thinking: what inspires us, and how can we share that with our communities? What is your Appendix N?

My Appendix N is loaded with science fiction, fantasy, and horror. I’ve got the classics, like JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and Stephen King’s The Shining; I’ve got the dark fantasy of Neil Gaiman, and I’ve got the paranormal steampunk romps from Gail Carriger. I also have Gail Simone’s Red Sonja and Batgirl runs, Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s X-Men run, and The Lumberjanes, created by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Gus Allen, and ND Stevenson.

Think about your Appendix N, and share it with your community. Don’t have a Reading Throne? Heck, any chair in your library can be made a reading throne. Invite your teens and kids to make one of their own, and share your Appendix N with them while inviting them to think about the works that made them and that keep influencing and inspiring them.

Want to share your Appendix with me? Email me at [email protected]. I’d love to see them!

Rosemary Kiladitis (she/her) is a native New Yorker (almost – she arrived here at 5 days old, having been born in Hollywood, Florida) and a self-confessed bibliomaniac with fond memories of burning out many an Itty Bitty Book Light as a child, reading under the covers well past her bedtime. She currently reads by her tablet light when everyone else is asleep. The excitement of rediscovering her childhood favorites – and discovering new favorites! – with her kids led her to children’s librarianship after a little over a decade in book publishing. She received her Masters in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University in 2013 and is an Assistant Community Library Manager at the Corona branch of Queens Public Library, where she dreams of world domination through storytime. She lives in Queens, New York, with her husband and an assortment of kids and pets.

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