A bigger Comic-Con returns to University Library this year

Librarian Abby Hilyard finally has ushered the Seventh Annual University Library of Columbus Comic-Con to a weekend date by recruiting enough volunteers to make the event happen when families and youngsters more easily can attend.

“We decided that we had gotten so much positive feedback in the past from people saying ‘I’d really like to bring my kids, but they are at school,’ or that ‘on most weekdays, I have to work,’” Hilyard said. “So we decided to move it to a Saturday.”

And so it will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday when the free event will unfold at the University Library in the Columbus Learning Center, 4555 Central Ave. in Columbus. This will be the largest since Hilyard launched the gathering. At least 44 vendors will be on hand, far more than in any other year.

An estimated 200 people attended last year.

“I think that’s actually really pretty good for the middle of the weekday,” Hilyard said of last year’s numbers.

This year, Hilyard and her seven-member organizing committee hope to see at last 300 people. Storm Trooper cosplayers are among the entertainment. She has been doing multiple media interviews and also planning advertising with a modest budget of $2,000.

“This year, I went to all my colleagues and said ‘If we really want this to be bigger, you’re going to have to help me,’” Hilyard said. “This is more work than a part-time librarian can do.”

And volunteers suddenly began getting involved and connected. Ivy Tech professors and others, along with library staff, reached out to help.

“This still all feels a little strange,” Hilyard said. “Because it’s so far outside of my professional realm of librarianship.

“But at the same time, I am very proud that I am able to do something so completely different and well loved and well liked. And I’m proud that it even survived after 2020, when we thought that maybe we’d never even do it again.”