Attention Tarzan fans: If you're looking for a way to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of Edgar Rice Burroughs' original story, look no farther than the Sacramento Public Library, which is hosting a special centennial conference for the beloved literary character raised by apes.
The conference, which continues today in the Central Library's West Meeting Room, is meant to celebrate the history and widespread popularity of Burroughs' character, who was first introduced to readers in October 1912.
The event was organized by a local group of Burroughs' enthusiasts who call themselves the Northern California Mangani. In Burroughs' book, Mangani is the name of the fictional great ape species that raised Tarzan.
The local chapter is under the umbrella of a nationwide organization known as the Burroughs Bibliophiles.
"Burroughs created the most popular literary figure of the 20th century," said Tom Tolley, one of the library's technicians and a member of the Mangani. "Tarzan predates Mickey Mouse and Superman, so I knew I wanted to have some sort of celebration for the centennial."
Tolley, who was one of the event's main organizers, worked with other group members to put together a series of talks and panel discussions that continue from noon to 5 p.m. today.
"I grew up as a kid reading (the Tarzan books) and although I've moved on into my adult life, it's something I've continued to have an interest in," said Tom Krabacher, a geography professor at California State University, Sacramento, and member of the Mangani.
Krabacher was one of Saturday's speakers. He discussed the role that pulp magazines played in Tarzan's success and publishing history.
"What's also great about all this is that now Burroughs is starting to be analyzed for serious scholarly work," Krabacher said. "That didn't use to be the case. A lot of people used to criticize his work because they saw it as childish and not difficult to read."
In addition to this weekend's conference, organizers have worked with the library to create displays of Tarzan memorabilia in the Central Library lobby and the Sacramento Room.
The displays include original Tarzan books, comics, toys and collectibles and will remain on display through Sept. 30.
"Tarzan offers people an escape. The character and story offer freedom," Tolley said. "He's an incorruptible figure."
"Plus, he's fun to read about," added Krabacher with a smile.
IF YOU GO
What: The Sacramento Public Library is hosting a conference celebrating the centennial of Edgar Rice Burroughs' classic, "Tarzan of the Apes." Today's agenda includes a presentation of Tarzan collectibles and merchandising, a panel discussion on the role of women in the Tarzan series, and a visual lecture titled "100 Years of Tarzan of the Apes." The visual lecture will be given by David Lemmo, curator of the Museum of Modern Mythology and Pop Culture and author of "Tarzan: His First 100 Years."
Where: Library's West Meeting Room, 828 I St., Sacramento.
When: Noon to 5 p.m. today.
Information: (916) 264-2920 or www.saclibrary.org (click on "Events").