It all started with a summer of quarantine.
Young Adult Librarian and self-described comic nerd, Melissa Bennett, missed the teens who hung out at Randolph’s Turner Free Library every day.
Then ZAP! POW! BAM! She had an idea. An end-of-summer, all virtual Comic Convention that would give Randolph teens—and teens in other Massachusetts communities—a chance to celebrate their fandom while social distancing from couches, bedrooms, and kitchen tables. Even better than an in-person Convention, which is pricey to attend, this one would be completely free and open to teens of all backgrounds.
With support from LITT, The Library Initiative for Teens and Tweens, and an ace team—Alex Remy from Springfield, and Young Adult Librarians from Brockton, Holyoke, Lawrence, Marshfield, Peabody, Waltham, and Worcester—ACTIVATE was born.
The YA librarians gathered presenters for their first-ever virtual Comic Convention who reflected the racial and ethnic diversity of their towns. And in a summer when Black Lives Matter protests were bursting onto the streets, they hoped ACTIVATE would inspire teens to turn their fandom into activism.
ACTIVATE has something for everyone. It’s a mix of fun, hands-on workshops on topics like fanfiction, worldbuilding, gaming, and superhero fitness, and awesome panels featuring diverse groups of talented creators. In 2021, look for these new offerings: teen-led games, a Discord channel, and Artist Alley, where teens can showcase their own artwork.