Carol Tilley

Associate Professor

PhD, Information Science, Indiana University

Other professional appointments

  • Faculty Affiliate, The Center for Writing Studies
  • Faculty Affiliate, Gender and Women's Studies
  • Faculty Affiliate, Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies

Research focus

History of youth services librarianship, children's print culture, information inquiry and instruction in school libraries, information seeking and use, and media literacy.

Honors and Awards

  • Will Eisner Comics Industry Award judge (Eisner Awards), 2016.
  • Arnold O. Beckman Award, Campus Research Board, University of Illinois, 2015.
  • Young Adult Library Services Association’s (YALSA) Past Presidents’ Paper Juried Winner, American Library Association, January 2013.
  • University of Illinois, List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students (multiple semesters).
  • SheSource Expert, Women's Media Center. 


Carol Tilley teaches courses in comics reader’s advisory, media literacy, and youth services librarianship. Her scholarship focuses on the intersection of young people, comics, and libraries, particularly in the United States during the mid-twentieth century. Tilley's comics research has been featured in the New York Times, BoingBoing, WNYC's Takeaway, and other media outlets. A frequent speaker at academic conferences as well as popular comics events, Tilley has served as an Eisner Award judge (2016) and president of the Comics Studies Society (2018-2019).

Video: Carol Tilley: Comic Book Crusader

Courses currently teaching

Office hours

By appointment, please contact professor

Publications & Papers

Tilley, Carol L. (2023, forthcoming). The Open Road for Boys Cartooning Contests: A Prosopography. Comicalitès [journal].
Tilley, Carol L. (2023). Never Any Dirty Ones: Comics Readership Among African-American Youth in the Mid-Twentieth Century. In Q. Whitted (Ed.), Desegregating Comics: Debating Blackness in Early American Comics, 1900 – 1960, pp. 163-180. Rutgers.
Tilley, Carol L. (2021). Print. In R. Fawaz, D. Whaley, and S. Streeby (Eds.), Keywords for Comics Studies, pp. 168-170. NYU Press.
Tilley, Carol L. (2018). A Regressive Formula of Perversity: Wertham and the Women of Comics. Journal of Lesbian Studies (Special issue on Lesbians and Comics) 22 (4): 354-372.
Tilley, Carol L. and Walter, Scott (2016). What’s In a Name? College & Research Libraries, January.
Tilley, Carol L. (2015). Children and the Comics: Young Readers Take on the Critics. In J. Danky, J. Baughman, and J. Ratner-Rosenhaugen (Eds.), Protest on the Page, pp. 161-179. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.
La Barre, Kathryn A. and Tilley, Carol L. (2012). The Elusive Tale: Leveraging the Study of Information Seeking and Knowledge Organization to Improve Access to and Discovery of Folktales, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 63 (4): 687-701.
Tilley, Carol L. (2013). Superman Says 'Read': National Comics and Reading Promotion, Children's Literature in Education 44 (3): 251-263.
Tilley, Carol L. (2012). Seducing the Innocent: Fredric Wertham and the Falsifications that Helped Condemn Comics, Information & Culture: A Journal of History 47 (4): 383-413.


Re-Centering Children in Comics. Comics, the Children, and Childishness [keynote], Ghent University (Belgium), September 2023.
Reading the World through Comics. Comics, Teaching, and Memory. II National Symposium on Media, Technology and History & I International Congress [keynote], Research Group on Media, Technologies and History (MITECHIS). March, Federal University of Tocantins (Brazil), March 2023.
The Readers at the Center of Wertham’s Lies, 6as Jornadas Internacionais De Histórias em Quadrinhos (6th International Comics Days) [keynote], University of São Paulo (Brazil), August 2019.
The History of the Future of Comics (for Kids), Marantz Picture Book Symposium [keynote], Kent State University, August 2018.
Dear Sirs: I Believe You’re Wasting Your Time, Researcher Series (Center for Legislative Archives), National Archives, Washington, DC, October 2016.
By Sappho’s Stylus! Reading Wonder Woman with Wertham, Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary Symposium, Cleveland Public Library / Kent State University, Cleveland, OH, September 2016.
The Psychopathology of Comics Reading: The Troubled Legacy of Fredric Wertham's Public Health Campaign, Penn State University College of Medicine’s Hershey Lectureship in the History of Medicine, Harrisburg, PA, May 2016.
A Severe Case of Comics: Looking Back on the Problem that Wasn’t, Lois Lenski Children’s Literature Lecture, Illinois State University, March 2016.
Private Reading, Public Health: Exploring Psychiatrist Fredric Wertham’s Comics Legacy [keynote], From Private Lives to Public Health, 5th Annual Comics and Medicine Conference, June 2014.