Want to share your passion, enthusiasm, and costume work with others? What better way than by presenting at your local (or not to local) convention?
While most conventions take place in the Spring and Summer, most are starting to put their calendars together now. Booking special guests, musicians, artisans, and speakers takes time- so the sooner the better in most cases. Bellow I’ve compiled a list of active cons deep in the planning stages for their 2017 event. Did I miss your favorite? Send a link to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll add it!
While not technically a convention, The Edwardian Ball is an elegant and whimsical celebration of art, music, theatre, fashion, technology, circus, and the beloved creations of the late, great author and illustrator Edward Gorey.
Visit with Gail Carriger in the frigid north! Past years panels included 19th Century Sexuality & Sensuality, Introductory Leatherwork, and Creating Worlds Through Words. They have no posted deadline for applications.
I’m also including links to conventions that don’t have 2017 dates listed yet.
Have you been/are you planning on participating in the National Novel Writing Month (known to most folks as NANOWRIMO) challenge? We wanna hear about it! Email documents, comments, and links to submissions[at]steampunklibrary[dot]net.
Share your vlog updates; share your stories; share your favorite author podcast about tips for writing. If you need inspiration, you’re not alone, so send us your favorite steampunk story, website, or artwork and we’ll post it here and via the Steampunk Library Project Twitter page (@SteamLib) to help inspire your fellow participants.
Is your library (or school, or book group, or even just you and your friends) hosting a NANOWRIMO event? Check out this nifty idea for creating novel finishing kits.
Wanna learn more about NANOWRIMO and how to get involved? Visit the official website for all the details.
Good luck to all participants in the 2014 challenge!
Who can live with just one Halloween post? In honor of the best (if not best, at least most colorful) holiday here are more ideas for brining steam into your Halloween plans and a review of the Gail Carriger short story The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn’t, the Mummy That Was, and the Cat in the Jar (part of the Parasol Protectorate series).
Don’t forget to share your own Halloween costumes and concepts at email@example.com and via Twitter @SteamLib.
Music playlists are a staple of every party no matter where it’s hosted. While the classics like “Ghostbusters” and “Werewolves of London” will always hold a place in our hearts it never hurts to add some new pieces into the mix. I put together a small list highlighting some of my favorites from steampunk bands and pop-musicians:
Other suggestions include Abney Park, The Clockwork Dolls, Professor Elemental, and Jonathan Coulton.
Is your library in an area that hosts a large cosplay community?
Invite local groups to come and show off their costumes on Halloween and maybe do a Q&A on costume creation. If you’re lucky enough to live near a convention (you can check the Airship Ambassador Convention Listing ). You also might be able to find local artisans/crafts people who would be interesting in coming with some of their steampunk works (tiny hats, gloves, jewelry) to display and sell last-minute costume pieces.
Last but not least a review of a Gail Carriger Parasol Protectorate story, my recommendation for a quick read for book groups or to curl up with while you binge on candy.
Title: The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn’t, the Mummy That Was, and the Cat in the Jar: An Alessandro Tarabotti Story
Author: Gail Carriger
Series: Parasol Protectorate side story
Genre/Style: Adventure, Short Story
Read If You Like: The Parasol Protectorate series, mysteries,
Ever wonder where Alexia got her sass? Search no further: in this short story originally published in the “Book of the Dead” anthology edited by Jared Smith we get our first full glimpse of Alexia’s father, the adventuring Alessandro Tarabotti.
When the Templars need a job done then expect it to be done quickly, discretely, and completely. When Mr. Tarabotti arrives in Egypt he knows these expectations and with the assistance of his trusted valet (and to the only level Mr. Tarabotti seems about to attempt, his friend) Mr. Floote he hopes to carry out his mission regarding a man and a mummy. However when an embalmed cat, an old ‘yoo-hoo’-ing acquaintance from England, and a blushing young Leticia Phinkerlington appear, things get unexpectedly complicated.
Great for a little read while waiting for trick-or-treaters.
Halloween is my favorite time of year: crunchy leaves, pumpkin everything, costumes, make-up, parties, and of course the annual revival of “Hocus Pocus”. This post is all about bringing steampunk into your library (or home, or community center) for Halloween. Some ideas are wholly steam-themed while others are ways to add some Victorian flair to any Halloween program.
Have your own favorite program for Halloween, or pictures from a successful event? Have it hosted on the site by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also share pictures of events, costumes, and more with us on Twitter @SteamLib.
Program Type: Film Series/Book Group
Time Frame: Varies
Space Needed: Film viewing room, book group meeting room
• Film showing rights, if applicable
• Custodial for rooms
• Popcorn/snacks for movie nights
When you think of monsters who comes to mind? Frankenstein? Dracula? The Victorian monsters became the staple of the silver screen for a reason: their stories are equal parts terror and intrigue. Since there are so many film options now the monsters make themselves an easy pick for a mini-film festival. The festival can be stand-alone, or tied in to other programs, like a book group. The original story behind the films are very short (Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Invisible Man, The Portrait of Dorian Grey) which are well suited for teen readers. For adults Frankenstein, Dracula, or a Jack the Ripper novel lend themselves to longer book group discussions. The film showings are a great way to stir up interest and advertise the book groups to an audience with a noted interest.
Program: Steam-Themed Family Masquerade
Time Frame: 2 hours
Space Needed: Open floor space for dancing, tables for snacks, and tables for crafts
• Custodial services
• Food (finger munchies and candy)
• Craft supplies (felt, glue, craft sticks, glitter, small paper hats, white and black fabric masks, etc)
For a family-friendly Halloween event host a masquerade! Invite community members to come in costume and read scary stories, share treats, dance a little, and give their kids a reason to put on their costume again. Starting just before the event and running throughout allow guests to make their own party mask. This is easily made steam-y by providing gears, gold glitter, small Lego octopus creatures, and lace to adorn the DIY masks. Costume contest categories can also be made steam by having a category for Victorian Monsters or book characters.
P.S. The library blog Ms Kelly at the Library has great Halloween party games for kids
Looking for a grown-ups only party? Easily make the masquerade into a Victorian Murder Mystery night! Have your guests dress in their best steampunk attire (help them feel inspired to start a custom costume project) There are dozens of sites with downloadable party templates and ideas and some include hosting tips. These party templates can then be altered to have The Parasol Protectorate’s dashing Lord Akeldama as man of the hour, or Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker Machine as a murder weapon.
Don’t forget to include all your steampunk favorites into your Halloween book displays and bulletin boards! What better to bring fear into a reader’s heart than a mad scientist, a sea monster, or a vampire with an impeccably perfect cravat? Inspire Victorian costume by highlighting fashion histories, DIY sewing/craft books, and the colorful covers of YA steampunk in your collection. Steampunk art books also liven up a display and show the genre in it’s best season.
Every year the American Library Association promotes a week-long series of displays and events to draw attention to censorship in schools and public libraries. Simply called Banned Books Week, these events highlights items that have been banned/censored, or otherwise branded as immoral or unfit for circulation.
According to the ALA a challenge “is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.” A breakdown of terminology can be found here.
In 2013 307 formal challenges were reported by the ALA , down from 464 in 2012. That’s more than a challenge a day for every day in 2012. It should be noted that because of the specific definition of “challenge” and “banned” the ALA has limited means to keep statistics on what books are being targeted and why. The ALA estimates that for every challenge they count “four or five remain unreported.”
Public and academic libraries across the country show their support for the right to read through displays, activities, and speakers. These events vary is scope from highlighting the irony of banning some books (for example, banningFahrenheit 451 ) to promoting conversation about what themes are deemed unreadable and why (like this display ).
The ALA and other library organizations across the country have supportive materials from posters to display templates to t-shirts. Bellow I’ve compiled some of my favorite ideas for displays and activities to draw attention to censorship and promote thoughtful discussion about what we censor.
Share your own favorites in the comments bellow, or on Twitter @SteamLib #BannedBooksWeek.
Program Type: Book Display
Time Frame: Week of BBW
Space Needed: Single display shelf, visible from library entrance
Budget Considerations: Staff time and paper
Description: Cover selected historically challenged books in yellow paper. On the paper you can choose to represent the attitude towards the challenge of your choice (thought provoking, fear mongering, sarcastic, and so on). Options include:
-Ironic list of reasons it was challenged (ie Anne Frank being sad, Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian as racist, or Perks of Being a Wallflower as unsuited to age group)
– Excerpts from court cases/media interviews about the book
– Warning sign for reasons banned (ie “contains descriptions of nudity” or “parental guidance strong language”)
Space Needed: Wall for display, cleared area to allow all users access, space for camera/printer/screen
Budget Considerations: Backdrop creation, staff time to supervise users, camera rental (if not owned by the library) paper/ink for printing the pictures
Description: Have patrons pose with their favorite banned book in front of a decorative police mug-shot styled back-drop. Include the height chart, a sign which includes the name of your library, and an “I Read Banned Books”/ “Caught Reading Banned Books” sign. Print a copy of the photo for your patrons to take home with them. For budget reasons this might be set as the ending of an event or workshop.
Time Frame: Week of BBW, best suited for story-time or book groups
Space Needed: Presentation space
Budget Considerations: Costumes & props (if provided by the library)
Description: Have book group members/story-time participants/your class read a banned book and perform a monologue from their favorite character’s point of view. Have them address the reasons they have been banned and how they feel as a character or what they believe the person making the challenge miss understood about their book.
Audience: Teens and Adults, groups up to 10 persons
Time Frame: One hour per session
Tables and chairs
Computer and projector
Ideal: Tour of collections
Honorarium for guest speakers
The Federal Depository Library Program is a plan by the Federal Government designed to provide free, guided access to a variety of government publications. These include Hearings, Supreme Court decisions, and less spot-light publications like geographic studies, and Patent Office collections. For full details see the Government Printing Office site: http://www.gpo.gov/libraries/public/
These collections offer incredible insight into US history, and it’s true, sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. Working in collaboration with your local government documents librarian, create a series of workshops highlighting the pieces of the collection that would be of value to steampunk writers, costumers, or just your general Victorian history buff. Topics to consider are:
The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office- crazy brilliant inventions from the Wild West to the elite leisure creations of Edwardian 5th Avenue. Research the technologies people hoped to create as a way to build your own steampunk worlds.
Bureau of Indian Affairs collections – understand the realities of Natives in Victorian America and see the language authentic to the period.
Maps – Many Regional Depositories collect maps and other geographic publications. These show how regions of the US changed over time and how those changes affected the people living in those areas. Original copies may also include fold-out illustrations that were hand-created, a respectable form of employment for women of the day.
Health, Education, Labor & Pension Committee- Started in 1869 as the Committee on Education and in 1884 through the mid-1900s it was known as the Education and Labor Committee these papers give insight into the mental and health state of the US. These realities add authenticity to any steampunk story.
US Code and State Statues- What laws were in affect in 1880 that aren’t now? What states had public decency laws regarding swimsuits? What about immigration in 1897? Searching through old copies of federal and state legal volumes can add the details needed to make every costume realistic and every story true to period.
National Novel Writing Month – every November writers of all levels take the challenge to write a full novel (or at least a good chunk of one) in the month of November. The challenge is supported through social media campaigns, writing groups, and web tracking via nanowrimo.org. The site also hosts postings related to writing help and organizes local events. As librarians, we can encourage writers to use the library as their writing space, research space, or just a place to come and get support as they take on hundreds of words a day. This project is designed to show that support while also spreading the word to those who may not have heard of NaNoWriMo. Images of canisters filled with tools to help writers have been floating around Tumblr and Pinterest, and the idea can be easily modified to help support Steampunk writers in November.
For each canister (likely a poster-tube, or for the thrifty a modified/sealed paper towel roll), instead of creating a generic kit, make them decorated and filled with cards with genre-specific sentence starters and other helpful pieces of inspiration. In addition to the coffee, pencils, and stack genre canisters might be filled with:
Steampunk: small pictures of Steampunk machines, note cards with quotes like “Steampunk creations may be mechanical, sculptural, or purely decorative… Whatever the application, the art celebrates a time when new technology was produced, not by large corporations, but by talented and independent artisans and inventors” from Art Donovan’s The Art of Steampunk (2011), tiny paper mustaches, top hats, and a small list of in house resources. The outside of the canister can be decorated with more paper top hats and closed with corset-lace styled ribbons.
Fantasy: A canister covered with a glittery paper dragon is attention grabbing no mater it’s location in the library. Filled with a wand, a list of online creature name generators, and quotes from J. K. Rowling, Tolkien, and Goodkind the magic is sure to start flowing.
Romance: A deep red canister filled with chocolates; who wouldn’t fall in love with a little chocolaty inspiration? Cards filled with synonyms for “love” (predilection, delight, adoration), pictures of the sunset, and a list ‘legitimate’ authors who also write romance (like Sabrina Jeffries who earned her PhD on James Joyce but makes her living writing romance) are sure to get blood pumping.
Children: NaNoWriMo isn’t just for grown-ups! This idea can also be easily modified for children, particularly during a day camp. Give each child a canister filled with a sentence starter (“Then suddenly the door opened”, etc), a few pictures, and a character name. Give them time to write a story using all the pieces from their canister and have them share with the group.
Space Needed: Film viewing room, book group meeting room
Film showing rights, if applicable
Custodial for rooms
Popcorn/snacks for movie nights
When you think of monsters who comes to mind? Frankenstein? Dracula? The Victorian monsters became the staple of the silver screen for a reason: their stories are equal parts terror and intrigue. Since there are so many film options now the monsters make themselves an easy pick for a mini-film festival.
The festival can be stand-alone, or tied in to other programs, like a book group. The original story behind the films are very short (Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Invisible Man, The Portrait of Dorian Grey) which are well suited for teen readers. For adults Frankenstein, Dracula, or a Jack the Ripper novel lend themselves to longer book group discussions. The film showings are a great way to stir up interest and advertise the book groups to an audience with a noted interest.
Space Needed: horizontal book display space – or image display space
Budget Considerations: none (unless printing images of the poems for display)
Spine poetry is a display that has been floating around Flickr, Pinterest, and Tumblr. It’s very simple: you take the titles of books, as displayed by their spines, and create poems by stacking books so their titles create a small poem, joke, or story. For example three books titled Through the Looking Glass, Bad Cat, and Go Ask Alice become a short story by stacking them to read Bad Cat/ Through the Looking Glass?:/ Go Ask Alice. While this isn’t a steampunk only display it is a way to show the creativity of steampunk titles and the visual aspect of their covers by incorporating them into these spine-poems. It also shows the genre to people who may not normally look at them. These displays can be of the physical books, stacked on top of the shelves, or photographs of the book stack can be displayed on the walls. This would be a fun project for School Librarians who have TAs, or public libraries that have young volunteers. It allows creativity and is a great way to get familiar with your collection.
This is a display aimed at bridging the gap between fiction and non-fiction. Many Steampunk books are based on a historical reality, and then they alter and bend that reality to fit the author’s intentions. For many readers (myself included) part of the joy of steampunk is seeing the changes made and what stays true to history. For many teens, though, there may not be as much background understanding of the historical reality to fully appreciate the nuanced changes: this board is aimed at bridging that gap. Additionally, this board can be important for librarians working in communities with Common Core English classes where there is a high expectation for nonfiction reading by teens. By showing the connection between fiction and nonfiction librarians can tap into an expressed interest (steampunk or speculative fiction) and present nonfiction content in that same interest. Depending on the books pulled this can also be used for WWI and Civil War specific books.
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld paired with The Assassination of the Archduke: Sarajevo 1914 and the Romance that Changed the World by Greg King, Sue Woolmans
Boneshaker by Cherie Priest paired with Seattle Underground by William Speidel
Wild, Wild West (film) with A Lady’s Experiences in the Wild West in 1883 by Rose Render