Did anyone notice that Gene actually posted to our blog the other day? He's always sending me stuff saying "blog this" and I always respond "you do it." And he finally did. Here's hoping we hear more from him.
No score and five years ago, a librarian and a cartoonist brought forth on this website, a new comic strip, conceived in Irony, and dedicated to the proposition that there really is such a thing as a stupid question.
In January of 2001 Bill sat down to develop a newspaper comic strip. He wrestled with several ideas, but it wasn't until Gene told him true stories about working at the library that something gelled. In July, on a flight back from Comic-Con, we started writing the comic strip that would become Unshelved. We had a vague idea about a snarky librarian named Dewey, but almost everything else you would recognize came later. We fiddled around with it for about six months, then decided to start posting strips on the web for our friends and family as a way of forcing ourselves to make progress.
We went live on February 16th, 2002, and just days later a post on librarian.net outed us to the library community (thanks Dawn and Jessamyn!). Overnight we went from 40 readers to 1000, and have been growing at a breakneck pace ever since. We figured library folks would find our setting inherantly funny, but we never guessed how supportive (or networked!) they would be.
A lot has changed since then. We've added a few staff members and many more patrons to our ensemble cast. We remodelled the Mallville Library. You pimped over a hundred bookcarts (see the winners here). We hope the art and writing have both improved. Last year we added the Sunday color Unshelved Book Club, one of the most popular things we've ever done. And soon (we promise) we're going to add a searchable index of our archive, now over 1800 strips and growing!
We couldn't have done any of it without you. It's because you told your coworkers, patrons, friends, and family about us that we are now read by over 35,000 readers around the world every day. Thanks for buying our books and T-shirts, for suggesting us as keynote speakers and, most importantly, for forwarding the strip or hanging it at your workplace where everyone could enjoy it. Your emails (even the short ones) keep us going, and it's been a pleasure to meet so many of you at conferences and events.
And if you haven't met us yet, maybe we'll see you at BEA or ALA or one of our other speaking engagements later this year!
Thanks for five years of fun. Here's to five more!