Pathfinder Thu-Thao Tran: Creator of the Cambrian Fandom Swap!

Pathfinder is a series of blogs about intrepid library staff who are leading interesting programs that you may not yet know about.

While librarian Thu-Thao Tran grew up, they immersed themselves in the worlds of video games and anime fandom.

What is fandom?  According to, fandom means:

“fans collectively, as of a celebrity, a movie, a book, or a professional game or sport.”

Fans, who have “an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal” often express their adoration by watching, playing, or collecting items related to their fandom.

The Excitement of a New Fandom!

Thu says that their parents would not allow them to buy any fandom collectibles while they were growing up.  As such, they told themselves that when they entered the world of employment, they would fully immerse themselves in the world of fandom, which includes purchasing collectibles.

Thu explains,

"Over the years, I found myself jumping from one title to the next, and with each new fandom I joined, my collection continued to grow.

Now that I’m a librarian, my love for all things fandom continues to go strong!”

Finding a new fandom is intoxicating!  Learning about new fandoms is all part of the fun.  Other fans talk passionately about their fandoms and naturally, one’s appreciation grows!

Thu tells me,

"Serendipity is one of the reasons why I end up picking up a new game or series. Some things just sounded too interesting to pass up!

However, most of the titles I pick up were because my friends were super passionate about those titles. I love playing or watching titles that are important to my friends because it helps me understand them and the things that they’re passionate about! Passions like these are always so infectious that I joke with my friends about how they’ve infected me with their fandoms by talking to me about them so much!”

As with life, our interests often change, and so does our interest in different fandoms.

Moving on to Other Fandoms

Sadly, when fans decide to part with their former beloved collectibles, they may either sell or throw away their collectibles.

Thu has a lot of experience in letting their fandoms go.  They tell me,

“Additionally, when I’ve moved on from a fandom, I would give away my old, gently-loved fandom goodies to my friends and family because most of these things are not recyclable!

As someone who tries to be environmentally conscious, it pains me to toss perfectly good things away when they could find new homes instead.

That’s why I wanted to develop a program for library customers to share their passions with others, and what’s a greater way to find new fandoms than through gently-loved merchandise from other fans?”

For as long as I have known Thu, they have been great founts of creative and innovative ideas and programs.  For example, every week, Thu has a funny, punny statement on their desk!

As one of their dear friends was contemplating throwing away their collectibles, Thu’s creative idea bulb popped, and the Fandom Swap was born!  Fandom Swap is a great way to free up space on your shelves and to be environmentally conscious!

How to Participate in the Fandom Swap!

Fandom Swap meets monthly on the third Sunday of every month from 2:00 – 4:00 PM.  The first Fandom Swap will be in:

  • WHERE: Cambrian Library’s Community Room
  • WHEN: February 19, 2023 (the 3rd Sunday of each month, thereafter) from 2:00 – 4:00 PM.
  • WHAT: Bring in old fandom merchandise in good condition that you’re not into anymore to that they can find a new home!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why can’t I recycle my collectibles?
A: After researching, Thu discovered that physical fandom merchandise isn’t a very environmentally friendly hobby.  Most collectibles cannot be recycled.

Q: Do I have to stay there the whole time?
A: You don’t have to stay the full duration of the program. This program isn’t for straight up trades, so you’re welcome to come by to drop off your stuff and leave.

Q: May I stay to see what comes in?
A: You are welcome to stick around and see what other people bring in!

Q: How will things be arranged?
A: Tables will be set up around the community room separated by fandom types (anime, games, TV shows, etc.), so it won’t be too intimidating to figure out where to start browsing!

Q: Do things have to be in their original packaging?
A: It’s okay to bring items that are gently used.

Q: Is there a limit to what I can bring?
A: Official and unofficial merch are welcome, but all materials must be rated PG-13 and under.

Q: Will there be any selling or buying?
A: Selling is prohibited.

If you have any comments or questions, please leave a comment below!