Northlake Public Library tries to Hulksmash its latest budget woes | Bleader

Northlake Public Library tries to Hulksmash its latest budget woes


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The proposed Hulk statue
  • Studio Oxmox
  • The proposed Hulk statue
In this time of drastic budget slashing, the masterminds at west suburban Northlake Public Library have a novel solution to their lack of funds: They're running an Indiegogo campaign to raise money to install a nine-foot-tall statue of the Incredible Hulk.

Why the Hulk? Well, says library trustee Tom Mukite, the Hulk is sort of an emblem of how fun and exciting the library can be, smashing the dull and conventional Bruce Banner types who believe that libraries are only for studying and reading quietly.

"You can also check out graphic novels, CDs, and DVDs," explains Mukite. And, if the fund-raising campaign fulfills its $30,000 goal, use the brand-new "creation station" that will include an iMac, a 3D printer, and a Cintiq interactive pen display of the sort used by comic book artists.

The Hulk will preside quietly—and, fortunately—immobilized over the graphic novel section. "You wouldn't think of the library as a place to see a giant Hulk statue," says Mukite. (And for good reason. Can you think of the damage the Hulk would do to the books and shelves?)

And, let's be clear, the Hulk is not the main priority of the fundraising campaign. The library will only shell out the $6,000 necessary for his installation if they're able to pay for the electronic equipment and approximately 1,000 graphic novels.

Northlake is already a center for comic book and graphic novel enthusiasts. A few years ago when Mukite was just a regular library patron, he began recommending comics to the librarians. "I steered them toward creator-owned comics," he says, "not DC and Marvel. So far the patrons have been loving them."

But then the budget cuts came. The library's funding comes from what the town collects through taxes, and since there have been a lot of foreclosures in Northlake recently, there's been far less money coming in than before. And what does come in is more likely to be directed to larger sections, such as adult fiction, rather than graphic novels.

So, Mukite and his colleagues reasoned, why not raise the money themselves? The Hulk statue had already been created by Studio Oxmox, a company in Australia, and the Northlake library decided to use it as a mascot for the fund-raising campaign—and as a means of getting attention. It's worked, sort of. So far 12,000 people have looked at the Indiegogo page, but only 88 of them have given any money. The library has achieved just ten percent of its goal with twelve days left to go.

Mukite remains cautiously optimistic. "We're hoping we'll get a big influx toward the end," he says. "We've been getting donations from as far away as Europe. A lot of people are saying, 'This is a really cool idea, here's a couple of dollars.'"