The Northlake Public Library in suburban Chicago unveiled its Hulk statue earlier this month to a crowd of more than 300. ^Trustee Tom Mukite, who joined the board specifically to spearhead the statue campaign, called the event the “largest turnout at the library ever.”
Mukite and the other trustees launched an Indiegogo campaign in April to make improvements to the library that included the addition of a Hulk statue to help attract visitors. According to the campaign’s page, “Today’s libraries are celebrating creativity, entertainment and life long learning, and they are doing it with technology and popular materials including graphic novels.” It continued, “We want to smash [libraries’] stuffy reputation with a 9 foot tall Incredible Hulk Statue.” In explaining why the Hulk is an appropriate decoration for the library, the campaign said, “Just as Dr. Bruce Banner transforms into the Hulk, we want our library community members to make their own personal transformations through books, programs, and awesome new equipment. […] The project will show off the fun side of the library and get the community talking. The Hulk will force patrons to look at the library in a whole new way.”
Sadly, the campaign fell well short of its $30,000 goal, bringing in just a little more than $4,000 (the statue alone cost about $8,000), but California businessman Steve Williams came to the rescue. The owner of L.A. Boxing also happened to own a 9-foot-tall fiberglass statue produced to promote the theatrical release of 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. The Green Goliath had served as his company’s mascot, but its presence initially violated city codes and then ran afoul of a landlord — so the businessman gave the statue to the library; a shipping company donated the cost of transportation.
Although the library didn’t get the extra books and technology it had hoped for from the campaign, interest generated by the Hulk has helped. According to the Franklin Park Herald-Journal, the attention created a surge in library card renewals, “increasing from an average of 120 during the six-week campaign up to 600.”
[UPDATE: Mukite contacted me with a correction that makes this news even better. “We did end up getting all the tech we wanted because the statue was donated. Also we brought him to Wizard World and got $1,500 in donations for more books. So we got everything we wanted.”]