Teens Unite: LibCon Celebrates its 10th Year

Jan. 16, 2020
| by:
Communications and Public Affairs

A safe space for teens and a home to lovers of comic books, manga, anime, cosplay, gaming and fantasy fandoms — that’s LibCon. 

LibCon is an annual event celebrating its 10th consecutive year tomorrow from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Hamilton Library. Unlike other pop-culture cons, such as ComicCon, the annual LibCon is a teens-only (ages 13-17) free event. Not even parents are allowed in. 

“Teens have a chance to explore the world of conventions by attending LibCon, where they can show their love, knowledge and appreciation for their favorite fandoms” said Allyson Bullock, a Library Assistant at Hamilton Library. “They have the freedom to dress-up through costuming and cosplay, make art, play games or simply hang out with friends. Teens can explore the Con world without feeling pressure from adults or worries about being in an unsafe environment.”

Other cons can be expensive to attend and require sometimes lengthy travel. Because it is both free and accessible, LibCon brings the con experience to teens who may not otherwise have the opportunity to go.

Since its inception, LibCon has grown from around 100 attendees to what organizers expect to be as many as 400 this year. This year’s guests can expect entertainment and activities including: 

  • After-hours check-out

  • DIY crafting for magnets, buttons and bookmarks

  • Table-top gaming

  • A DJ playing favorite Fandom music

  • A cosplay fashion show

  • A VR experience

  • Shopping from local vendors

  • A Harry Potter-themed escape room

  • A selfie booth

  • Prize raffles

LibCon vendor sells art and memorabilia
LibCon vendor sells art and memorabilia

Cosplay (the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book or video game) is popular and encouraged at LibCon. Teens are welcome to fully express themselves and let their creativity shine.

“You see these teens come in and they have put so much time and effort into these costumes,” Bullock said. “It’s phenomenal to watch.”

Ten years ago, LibCon was created after Library staff saw an opportunity to support teens in ways that hadn’t been done before in Arizona. 

“We were the first library in the state to host a teen con,” Bullock said. “The idea has taken off in part because it is clear how important teens are to the library. We want to make sure they have a voice.”

The ideas have since spread to several Valley libraries that have begun offering teen cons of their own.

Teens will travel from across the region and state attend to be a part of the 2020 LibCon. In the past, staff has welcomed guests from as far as Tucson or Flagstaff. 

Planning for next year’s LibCon starts as soon as the last con ends. A committee made up of staff from every library branch meets once a month leading up to the event. The committee discusses success and ideas for improvement, which often come from the teens themselves.

“We try to stay current on all the most popular fandoms and listen to the teens,” Bullock said. “We’re totally fan-driven.”

Teens cosplay as fandom characters at LibCon
Teens cosplay as fandom characters at LibCon

Attend the 10th Annual LibCon

Teens ages 13-18 are welcome to attend the 10th Annual LibCon from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Chandler Hamilton Public Library located at 3700 S. Arizona Ave. The event is free with no registration required. Just show up, be yourself and have fun.

For more information about tomorrow’s event, visit the LibCon Facebook Page.