How to Start an Anime Club at a Public Library

Thinking & Planning

As with most change that happens at libraries, you should talk to your patrons as much as possible during the planning process. You will need to know who your patrons are, first of all.


If you’re planning a teen anime club you’ll need to know if your teens are actually 10 and 11 year olds, or if they’re closer to 19. You’ll have to be aware of the ratings on anime, which range from Everyone, to Teen, Older teen, NC-17, and MA.

What kinds of anime do they like? Try to figure out the genres they like to watch the most.

Do they want subtitled or dubbed anime?

Do they want to watch anime movies or episodes of a series?

Do they want to play anime video games and party games and talk about cosplay, or actually watch things, or all of the above?

Get these questions answered, listen to your teens, and then move on.

Get the Goods

You will need to have anime to watch. You will need Japanese snacks and drinks. pocky_wallpaper_by_pocky_love_club_small

You can watch anime for free on the following websites. You do not require a membership, and you do not have to pay. You can pay for a membership on these sites, which gets rid of commercials. Some of them, like Crunchyroll, as that if you are showing their videos for a club you should let them know; they will then help you sign up for a free club membership.

Crunchyroll                Funimation                   The Anime Network                 Hulu

You can also get an anime club membership with the following companies, which gets you a bunch of free stuff, screening rights, and more.

Right Stuf                       Funimation                 Viz Media

You should get Japanese snacks. At least pocky. Other things if you can afford it. You can buy pocky at Kroger, but it is expensive there. You can look for local Asian markets. You can also buy online:

Asian Food Grocer. This one is my fave!                   J-List                            Very Asia

Plan the Program

Do the scheduling. Figure out how much anime you’ll need to screen to fill up your program time. Get a big enough space; the more space the better! Make sure you get your snacks in time. All that logistics stuff.

Do a test run. If you are screening with a laptop, hook up all the A/V stuff ahead of time and test it out. if you are screening from a website, make sure your internet/wireless/connection is strong enough to show it without skipping. Make sure the website isn’t blocked through your wireless. Make sure the laptop works with your TV/projects/etc. If you are screening with DVDs play them ahead of time to make sure they don’t skip. Watch it yourself if you have time. If you don’t, read reviews online so if there is any inappropriate or mature content you’re prepared for that.

Promote the program to your teens, their parents, their friends, at the school, put signs by the manga, etc etc etc.

Do a test run. Does this sound repetitive? I am serious about this. You do not want to start your first anime club by having a faulty projector, not being able to access the website, or having to constantly pause and buffer your anime. DO A TEST RUN.

Anime Club Time!

Run the program. Try to keep the crazy under control. Fail happily ^_^

Your teen patrons will absolutely love an anime club. They’ll be able to watch their favorite shows with friends, discover new shows, geek out with their friends or newbies about anime, feel accepted by their peers, and have a welcoming space to express themselves and their interests.

After the program make sure to follow up! Get the contact information for new teens so that you can let them know about other programs. Try to get the teens to connect with each other, both in person and virtually through email or facebook. Ask the teens what they liked and didn’t like about the program. Use that feedback for the next one. Figure out what they want to watch at the next one and try to make it happen!

I highly suggest you read this post by the Cosplay, Comics, and Geek Culture in Libraries Blog to get a sense of what exactly happens at an anime club with teens – in particular, the intense level of excitement and enthusiasm and how that affects program planning.


If you need suggestions for anime and manga for your anime club or your library’s collection check out my frequently updated list of popular shows, books, and my favorites. You can find the lists on my Anime & Manga Page!


5 thoughts on “How to Start an Anime Club at a Public Library

  1. “Test run” is so true! If not, that awkward silence when everyone knows someone didn’t do a test run ensues…


  2. This was pretty helpful. I appreciate the info. I work at a public library and am hoping to create a club. Subscriptions become a pain when dealing with board members and whatnot so any type of free streaming is awesome. Thanks again!


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