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Graphic Novel Collection Development

Art isn’t one of the disciplines I collect for where I work. But, Graphic Novels have always been one of my interests. I have been researching what goes into making a Graphic Novel collection for quite some time, albeit on a casual level.

from Scott McCloud’s excellent book Understanding Comics

When I came to my current place of work there were hardly any graphic novels in the collection, and none of what I would consider to be the required titles that any library should have. I’ve kept this in mind over the years and have watched for opportunities to arise where I could help make some changes.

My library subscribes to a book loan program of popular titles that allows us to bring in current titles and let our users check them out. If we determine that we would like to add them to our collection then we can pay a small fee to keep them. As one of the librarians here I help select the books that they will send us. I have been carefully selecting from the catalog they send us monthly Graphic Novels that I believe would be good for the collection. I have also been talking with students and art faculty about what they would like us to have in our collection.

To prepare for the day when I would find an opportunity to purchase graphic novels for the library I have been compiling lists and soliciting suggestions also from Social Networking sites such as Google+ and Friendfeed. The initial list I had of top titles was a great starting point for my latest discussion with an Art faculty member who will be teaching a class next year featuring Graphic Novels.

We met and she indicated from this list which titles she would like us to purchase, and also sketched out a plan for what kind of titles  would best cover a range of topics she would be focusing on in the class. This turned out to mean focusing on characters from underrepresented populations such as African-American women and Native Americans.

When I went to put together the list I first turned to the LSW friendfeed room for inspiration. (http://friendfeed.com/lsw) There I found several members who were more than willing to help me with suggestions they were personally familiar with. I spent time looking for reviews of the titles and then compiling a list within Books In Print

She also needed some representative Manga issues to highlight how other cultures tell stories with Art. For a list of some sample issues I turned to a list I have on Google+ called library. There I found several helpful librarians who helped me put together a list of some of the best examples of the style.

I am really excited about adding these to the collection and seeing the students from this class and others use them. I love that there are so many people out there willing to help share their knowledge.

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