Comic Book Collections for Libraries

Comic Book Collections for Libraries

Comic Book Collections for Libraries

Comic Book Collections for Libraries


Do comic books belong in libraries? Absolutely--as "Comic Book Collections for Libraries" makes very clear. This illustrated guide defines the role of comic books in the modern library, provides a thorough grounding in the subject for beginners, and suggests new ideas for those already familiar with these perennial reader favorites.

The book begins by introducing the structure of the comic book, industry players, and genres. The bulk of the guide, however, is comprised of actionable advice on such things as creating and maintaining the collection, cataloging for effective access, and promoting the collection, including how to feature comics with other library materials, such as movies and games. Drawing on the authors' experience, the volume answers numerous other questions as well. How can you tell which titles are age-appropriate for your library? Which titles are popular? How do you include characters that will appeal to diverse reader groups? Complete with checklists and a rich array of examples, this easy-to-use work can make every librarian a superhero.


I grew up reading comic books. Comics gave me my love of reading in general. I wish I could say that my parents encouraged comics in our home, especially now that I am a professional in the field, but the truth is that they just tolerated it. Back then, comics were viewed as second-rate literature. It actually wasn’t considered literature at all, but something kids read under the covers at night or your mother tossed in the trash. After all, what was the worth of seeing the Fantastic Four defeating Galactus the planet devourer or seeing Superman and the Flash racing around the world?

Today, comics have not only become accepted, but they are a learning tool. One of my greatest achievements was receiving an American Library Association Award for Usagi Yojimbo, Book 12: Grasscutter. That same book was used as a text book for Japanese history classes at the university level.

There was a wide gamut of genres when I started reading funny books—superheroes (of course), westerns, humor, science fiction, horror, illustrated classics, and even romance. They all shared something in common, though: they were meant to be read by all ages. Today’s comics also span a wide range of genres but are much more sophisticated. Many creators write or draw with a specific readership in mind. It is often difficult to determine if a book is suitable for a reader.

Many young children enjoy the story hours and special reading programs geared for their age group. However, as they grow older, they are enticed by all the media now available, whether online or packaged as games. Librarians have found that comic books, or graphic novels, are a great tool for attracting youth and teens back into the libraries. I have spoken at a few library conferences and found that librarians are anxious to build a graphic novel section but do not know where to start or how to go about it. Comics in the library are not a recent innovation, nor is it limited to the United States. At a presentation in the Netherlands, I saw there were graphic novels in the adult as well as the children’s sections of the library. Comics can be found throughout libraries in Europe.

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