Public libraries often provide enrichment opportunities for readers of all ages. For those lucky enough to live near a great library, weekly children’s reading hours, hobby groups for teenagers, and guest speakers for adults are often free. For “geek” teens lucky enough to live near the Louisville Free Public Library in Kentucky, the annual AnimeCon offers a day-long opportunity to enjoy anime, cosplay, and Japanese culture, all for free.

This year’s ninth annual AnimeCon held August 3 drew a sizable crowd. Many attendees showed up dressed as favorite anime characters; we saw a lot of candy-cornesque cat ears and Sailor Moons. Fun events included a Yu-Gi-Oh! tournament, a haiku showdown, a manga jewelry making lesson, and a bento box iron chef challenge. Young comic book fans were treated to a special session on how to draw comics and create engaging plotlines and characters. Among this year’s favorite activities were the ramen noodle eating contest (they don’t include the flavor packets) and the sumo-suit wrestling, which proved just how difficult it is for sumo wrestlers to stand up with all that bulk.

AnimeCon also had a couple of very special sessions. Crane House, a local resource for Asian culture, held sessions on fish printing (the Japanese art of making prints of fish) and calligraphy. Both sessions were well attended by smiling teens who were happy to have an opportunity to learn more about the culture that gave them anime. A special treat for all attendees was the presentation by the Frazier History Museum that explained the history of the Samurai, while showing how a Samurai would go about putting on his armor. The Frazier Museum is currently housing a special Samurai exhibit through September, and the Samurai dressing event at the library offered teens an opportunity to see parts of the exhibit and learn about Samurai without a special trip to the museum. (Geeky side note: William Shatner and his wife Elizabeth donated a piece of artwork to museum for the Samurai exhibit.)

The Samurai dressing presentation given by the Frazier History Museum at AnimeCon. (Photo by Nicole Bremer Nash)

The Louisville Free Public Library’s Facebook page features photos from AnimeCon 9.

It was a fun-filled day that left many wondering what special events will be scheduled to celebrate next year’s tenth annual AnimeCon at the Louisville Free Public Library.

What geeky activities have you been enjoying with your kids this summer? Let us know in the discussion.

Related Geekend resource: What anime films and shows are your favorites?