On the shelves of the Benfeld media library, the two shelves dedicated to manga seem very empty. And for good reason, a true fashion phenomenon for several years, the manga is very popular among readers. Until recently, the media library only had around fifty titles in its repertoire. In February, a state subsidy, aid for the reactivation of bookstores, allowed the creation of two additional funds: one for young people, the other for adults. As a result, nearly 650 such works now fill the shelves…when they’re not on loan! “We are happy, it works very well! For young people, demand has revived, especially since we are coming out of a not very good period”, explains Stéphanie Kieffer, one of the three librarians.
The great success of the mangamania exhibition
If manga are so successful at Benfeld, it is partly due to the “Mangamania” exhibition organized by the media library from April 6 to 27 to promote the new collections among readers. On loan from the European Center for Japanese Studies in Alsace (CEJA), thirty boards were exhibited to present manga culture and its history. At the same time, the media library has launched several workshops on Japanese culture. Throughout the month of April, kids and parents were able to learn about Japanese writing, hunt yōkai (Japanese gods) using Pokémon cards, or even learn how to draw a manga from designer Guillaume Cribeillet. Here too, these initiatives quickly found their audience: the workshops sold out and almost a hundred people went hunting for yōkai! To the delight of the three librarians, Stéphanie Kieffer, Roxane Boehm and Anne-Lise Graber, delighted to rediscover the place for users after two dismal years, due to the pandemic.
“Not just for young people”
“The idea was also to show that there is manga for adults and that in Japan it is not just for young people,” explains Roxanne Boehm. And thanks to the workshops and the exhibition “many readers discover manga, beyond prejudice”, abounds Stéphanie Kieffer, since young fans often came accompanied by their parents. That’s fine, in the Erstein media library there are manga for all tastes: along with the essential Naruto, Dragon Ball Z, Demon Slayer either The attack of the Titans there are also more contemplative works, sometimes even with a historical dimension, such as buddha life or of vinland saga. What to seduce young and old!