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

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

Office hours

By appointment, please contact professor

Publications & Papers

Tilley, Carol L. (2018, Forthcoming in print). A Regressive Formula of Perversity: Wertham and the Women of Comics. Journal of Lesbian Studies (Special issue on Lesbians and Comics).

Tilley, Carol L. (2018). Of Cornopleezeepi and Party Poopers: A Brief History of Physicians in Comics. American Medical Association (AMA) Journal of Ethics,

Tilley, Carol L. (2017). Superheroes and Identity: The Role of Nostalgia in Comic Book Culture. In L. Wesseling (Ed.), Reinventing Childhood Nostalgia: Books, Toys, and Contemporary Media Culture (Studies in Childhood, 1700 – Present), pp. 51-65 . Taylor and Francis.

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.

Tilley, Carol L. (2013). Children's Print Culture: Traditions and Innovation. In D. Lemish (Ed.), Routledge Handbook of Children’s and Youth Media, pp. 87-94. London, UK: Routledge.

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.

Tilley, Carol L. (2011). The True Value of the Work We Do, School Libraries Monthly 27 (May/June): 45-47.


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 address], Kent State University, August 2018.

The Secret Life of Comics [keynote address], NASIG Annual Conference, Indianapolis (IN), June 2017.

A Regressive Formula of Perversity: Fredric Wertham and the Monstrous Women of Comics, Monstrous Women in Comics [keynote address], University of North Texas, May 2017.

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.

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund presents, Dr. Wertham’s War on Comics, SDCC (San Diego Comic Con), San Diego, CA, July 2014.

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.

Children, Comics, and Print Culture, University of Wisconsin, AW Mellon Workshop on Comics, November 2013.