Complete the form below to request a collection from the Library Commission.
Why a graphic novel rotating collection?
Libraries and the public tend to see no value in comic books or graphic novels; graphic novels are perceived as not having literary value. So why a rotating collection? Besides its popularity with young and old readers alike, attitudes are changing about this format’s literary value.
To begin with, these materials aid poor readers and develop literacy. By keeping readers attention and interest in how the story unfolds, graphic novels are improving reader’s abilities to recognize words, identify words to their meanings, follow sequences of events, etc. In addition to helping poor readers, readers of graphic novels and comic books have a larger vocabulary and have better language art skills.
Besides aiding poor readers, graphic novels and comics encourage unmotivated readers to read. The reader continues reading these materials out of enjoyment, developing a love of reading that blossoms out into other areas in the library.
Lastly, this material helps develop literacy and visual literacy. Everyday we bombarded with visual messages through the Internet, television, movies, etc. This material helps us all develop skills, at our own pace, to interpret and make sense of those images.
What is a graphic novel?
Graphic novels grew out of the comics. A graphic novel is a book that uses images to assist in the storytelling. Unlike picture books, the images within a graphic novel must be integrated with the text for the story to flow and make sense. This format of storytelling is called sequential art.
Graphic novels are not a genre of fiction, like science fiction or historical fiction, but a format, like audio-books. Like regular books, graphic novels come in an array of genres and non-fiction for all types of readers.
What is the difference between a graphic novel, a comic book, and manga?
Graphic novels and comic books are very similar. Both use imagery with text to tell a story. The difference lies with how they are published. Comic books are serials, like Nature or People, which are published weekly or monthly, where as a graphic novel has a single publication date. The rise of graphic novels has caught the comic book community’s attention. Many publishers, like DC Comics, Marvel, and Dark Horse, are taking story lines originally told in serial format and republishing them as graphic novels.
Manga is the Japanese word for comics and has its own unique artistic style. This style differs from American comics in three ways: characters have exaggerated physical appearances, like huge eyes; motion is subjective and from the character’s point of view, not a backdrop; the story line relies heavily on visual cues instead of textual ones.
Is every graphic novel, comic book, or manga appropriate for all ages?
No, not every graphic novel, comic book, or manga is appropriate for all ages. All three can be written for a general audience. Like regular books, authors write for a specific age group. Some authors write children’s works, while other authors write for an adult audience. To help librarians and parents choose age appropriate materials, a comic book and manga-rating guide has been developed. The rating for the material can be located on the back cover of the item. In the rotating collection, you will see the following ratings
Graphic novels do not always use the rating guide developed by comic books or manga. In this case, it is up to technical and public services to decide the best audience for the work. To do this, look at the illustrations and text of the work. If both appear to be for an older audience, place the work in the young adult or adult collections. When in doubt, put it in the adult collection and always use common sense.
What should my staff know about the collection?
Your staff may have their own opinions about graphic novels, comics, and manga. Please take the time to familiarize yourself and your staff with the titles and appropriate age group. To aid you in this, there is an annotated bibliography incorporated into the package. This bibliography will have the titles in the rotating collection highlighted, as well as information about the appropriate age group, a brief summary for the work, and whether or not it is an award winner.
In addition to going over the bibliography, stress with your staff that not all graphic novels are intended for every audience. There is a perception that all graphic novels and comics are intended for children, and this could not be further from the truth.
Now that you have the collection, how do you get the users through the front door?
As with any collection, if your users do not know the collection exists, they will not use it, so get the word out. Try these suggestions.
Now that you have the collection, what can you do with it?
Once the word is out that the materials are at your library, here are some programming suggestions to keep your users coming back.
West Virginia Library Commission
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