AJF: Jack is a Teen Services Librarian with the Berkeley Public Library system and BAYA President. He is a native reader of comic books and was personally asked by Nancy Pearl to write the chapter on comic books in the upcoming new edition of Genreflecting and speaks regulalry on graphic novels and school collaboration. Please welcome Jack Baur.
One more thing… you may think we’ve forgotten about manga, but stay tuned for a BAYA-produced video of real-life teens describing why they read and enjoy manga.
JB: Art form, not genreThough a certain type of story (superheroes) is what we are used to seeing presented through comics in the US, there is no limit to the types of stories that can be told!That means that there is a comic book for EVERY reader that is willing to read it.
JB: Bring Samples
JB: Tell people how to join ALA IG
AJF: Everyone! Teens like them, and so do adults!Good bridge to the teen collection from the Childrens’ section.Adult interest = super high circs! In Christian Zabriskie of Queens Public Library “Superbooks: How Graphics Can Save Your Library” ALA presentation graphics had better value for their dollar investment than even high-interest titles such as the Twilight and Harry Potter series (about 38 cents per circ). I know in my own experience, I have never had a comic book show up on a dusty list that was on the shelf. And, a lot of comics, particularly manga, are also read in the stacks, more so than most other collections.
AJF: A study released earlier this year by the Canadian Council on Learning: More than just funny books: Comics and prose literacy for boys found the format can be especially effective in boosting the reading achievement of boys, who typically lag behind their female peers in the subject, in fact the study shows that comic books are often gateway books to additional literary resources, especially second language learners and teens who suffer from dyslexia and similar learning disorders. This study is chock full of information to support the value and need for comic book collections in a library.
AJF: Who isn’t? Comics aren’t limited to traditional, longstanding comic publishers. These days, it’s unusual for a publisher who doesn’t print comics too.
AJF: It’s standard among the majority of libraries to not interfile titles and have graphic novels collected for the big three audiences: Childrens, Teens and Adults. MCFL is in the process of transitioning from standard call numbers from fiction and non-fiction to GN collection codes. It is recommended that libraries organize series by title rather than author. Don’t reinvent the wheel: the Williamsburg Regional Library has an exhaustive how-to for organizing graphic novels and is included in our resources sheet.
AJF: The number one obstacle: library staff. Never had a patron challenge to a comic book, have had several staff challenges, as well as the typical “this could be a problem” challenge. Make it policy that staff follow reconsideration procedures-no shortcuts. Don’t worry about the naysayers, concentrate on winning over the majority of staff. Promote the collection with booklists and reader’s advisory tools and be gracious about having the best stats in the collection.
AJF: Your comics will get stolen. Hopefully you’ll get a dozen circs out of them first, but it is a high-theft collection. Before you start collecting in earnest, your system should decide what to do about theft – will you replace stolen items or not? This can be particularly frustrating with manga, which are very popular and are frequently very long series – anyone collecting Naruto will tell you that. It’s frustrating for librarians to have to keep replacing volumes, but it’s also frustrating for patrons to not be able to find them!
AJF: Challenges! As I mentioned earlier-I’ve never had a patron challenge to a comic book. Historically, both Maus by Art Speigelman and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi have been challenged in the system, particularly as teen titles. Be sure to have a solid collection development and reconsideration policy in place and that all staff are trained on these procedures. Remember, patron’s have a right to provide feedback and request that titles be reviewed and reconsidered. And if a patron wants to spend the time to challenge Maus or Persepolis, both award winning titles taught in schools, that’s their right. And it’s your right and duty to defend them. The bottom line is that if your library carries and defends the Harry Potter series (the most challenged books of the last decade), your library should carry and defend comic books.
AJF: Ratings! The Comics Code Authority was established in 1954 by the Comics Magazine Association of America in response to public concern regarding sex and violence in comics and loosely modeled on the Hayes Code. However, the CCA was much more restrictive and severely enforced. Most major publishers no longer submit to the code or only submit certain lines and today’s ratings are descendants of the CCA and vary by publisher. For example, Marvel has changed their ratings three times since introducing them in 2001 (PG+, PSR+ and T+ and up) all for teen and up). Fascinating side note: MPAA won’t allow comics to use their trademarked ratings system. So use them to your advantage, but be aware of their weaknesses.
AJF: Adult interest = super high circs! StatsIn Christian Zabriskie of Queens Public Library “Superbooks: How Graphics Can Save Your Library” ALA presentation graphics had better value for their dollar investment than even high-interest titles such as the Twilight and Harry Potter series (about 38 cents per circ). I know in my own experience, I have never had a comic book show up on a dusty list that was on the shelf. And, a lot of comics, particularly manga, are also read in the stacks, more so than most other collections. Last month, our all time most popular title wasPokemonAdventures,Vol. 1 by HidenoriKusaka with 10190 ciculations with a circulation rate of 1:31, beating out Janet Evanovich, James Patterson, David Baldacci and Michael Connelly.
AJF: Jack and I work in systems with similar populations (over 100,000+). However MCFL and BPL are vastly different. Marin has 10 branches and is a combination of rural and suburban populations, while Berkeley has four branches in an urban, college town. Marin has five bookstores, including the famous Book Passage and a Friends of the Library Used Bookstore and comic shop (many patrons purchase their books at Target, Costco or online), while Berkeley has suffered the loss of significant bookstores, such as Cody’s and Comic Relief, bookstores and comics are abundant. As a result, I tend to collect full-series runs, Jack tends to collect the newest titles. Also, Jack is more immersed in comics overall, so he adds titles to his collection as he comes across them, while I tend to use additional collection resources. Baker & Taylor offers custom carts, which allows you to select cart frequency, pub windows, formats, price limits, audience, BISAC subjects, reviews, publishers and more. Also, Technical Services would generate an annual cart based on YALSA’s Great Graphic Novel List for Teens, and quarterly carts of lost, stolen and billed titles.
AJF: Like most libraries, MCFL uses B&T, however, both B&T and BWI offer standing order plans. These are worth their weight in gold. Add your must have series titles and authors to the list and you don’t have to think about them again. If you use B&T, customize your cart and keep an excel spreadsheet of series titles. Don’t forget to use non-traditional selection resources such as twitter. Many writers, artists and publishers have twitter feeds.
AJF: Here’s a view of the spreadsheet I use to track which series I order in each audience. This way, if I have extra money at the end of the ordering calendar, I can go through and fill in any missed titles.
JB: Previews: Available through Diamond distributors or from your comic book store. Info about EVERYTHING that’s coming out 4 months from now. Can be overwhelming, but if you’re Wizard: the long-running “Guide to Comics” that has recently broadened to cover all corners of geek media – comics, movies, and video games. A good subscription purchase for your patrons. Not a lot of them will know about it, but if promoted many will enjoy it.CRB = Comic Book Resources: Lots of reviews, blogs, lists, etc. Tends to be critical… in a good way.NYT: Now runs a list of bestselling “graphic books.” Divided by hardcover, softcover, and manga.Amazon: User reviews! A lot of the time the user reviews will be written by fans, so you can get their perspective on what is good in a series and which volumes are essential!
AJF: Take every opportunity to attend San Diego Comic-Con, Alternative Press Expo and/or WonderCon. You’ll be able to talk first hand with artists, writers, publishers and primary users. Plus, you’ll score the best and most impressive swag. Your teen patrons will be beyond impressed to know you went. If nothing else, go for the swag.
JB: Just get to know them! Stop in and introduce yourself. Tell them you work at the library. Remember: you’re both in the business of serving readers! Comic book stores are very aware of the library’s position to create readers in the community. AND they KNOW what comics people in the community are buying. Ask them for recommendations! If you have a little collection money to spare, see if you can go and spend it there. Frequently local stores will offer you a discount if you’re buying for the library.
AJF: Comic Book readers, especially manga readers, are accustomed to reading scanlations, or rather, scanned copies of their favorite titles and digital comics come from a variety of sources, including direct from the publisher, online stores such as Amazon and even BitTorrent. Fractured at best, just as all digital books are, but being increasingly acknowledged and addressed. Diamond: the comics distributor, is beta testing selling digital comics via local comic book shops and is a hopeful solution to concerns raised by local comic book owners and their clientale.
Please email us with questions! Presentation will be on BAYA website next week
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Who's Afraid of Graphic Novels
San Leandro Library Tuesday, October 25, 2011 Jack Baur, Berkeley Public Library Amanda Jacobs Foust, Marin County Free Library Presented by BAYAOctober 25th, 2011 www.baya.org www.company.com
Jack Baur • Teen Librarian, Berkeley Pubic Library • Reviewer, No Flying No Tights • President, BAYA • Long-time NerdOctober 25th, 2011 www.baya.org www.company.com
What About Manga?!Fruits Basket by Natsukio Takaya DeathNote by Takeshi ObataOctober 25th, 2011 www.baya.org www.company.com
Comics Are... …created by an alchemy of Text and Image Understanding Comics by Scott McCloudOctober 25th, 2011 www.baya.org www.company.com
Pick the Graphic Novel! Sandman #19 Dream Country Absolute Sandman v.1 24 pages Collects Sandman #17-20 Collects Sandman #1-20, Winner of the World 160 pages plus extras Fantasy Award 612 pagesOctober 25th, 2011 www.baya.org www.company.com
What’s in a Name? Graphic novels… comic books… graphica… “sequential art”… comix… manga… Astonishing X-Men, John CassadayOctober 25th, 2011 www.baya.org www.company.com
Comics in Libraries Today • Brand New ALA IG! • Acceptance of GN Collections in Teen, Children’s, and Adult • Lots of comics being published, but there is a danger of becoming a trend. Sandman, Kevin NowlanOctober 25th, 2011 www.baya.org www.company.com
Why Comics? • Comics ARE reading! • Visual Literacy • Circulation Fun Home, Alison BechdelOctober 25th, 2011 www.baya.org www.company.com
Selection: Get your hands dirty!October 25th, 2011 www.baya.org www.company.com
Your Greatest AllyOctober 25th, 2011 www.baya.org www.company.com
Digital ComicsOctober 25th, 2011 www.baya.org www.company.com
Programming and Outreach• Free Comic Book Day• Comics Book Group• Comics Creation/Remix ProjectsOctober 25th, 2011 www.baya.org www.company.com
Yay, we did it! Jack Baur Amanda Jacobs Foust email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.orgOctober 25th, 2011 www.baya.org www.company.com
Join BAYA Bay Area Young Adult Librarians is an organization for teen services librarians from public and school libraries. We also provide continuing education, networking, and professional support for librarians. Members meet in January, March, May, July, September and November at various San Francisco Bay Area libraries. Membership is open to all those interested in promoting and improving library service to teens. Join BAYA: http://baya.org/ Annual Membership: $15!October 25th, 2011 www.baya.org www.company.com
Must Have AppsOctober 25th, 2011 www.baya.org www.company.com
Resources GNLIB-L Graphic Novels in Libraries Listserv (Yahoo Groups) http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GNLIB-L/ More than just funny books: Comics and prose literacy for boys http://www.cclcca.ca/CCL/Reports/LessonsInLearning/LinL20100721Comics.html Comic Book Project http://www.comicbookproject.org/ Comic Shop Locator http://www.comicshoplocator.com/ Book Clubs in a Box http://www.calbook.org/bcb/comix.html Early Word Newsletter (Robin Brenner’s Go Graphic! Column) http://www.earlyword.com/ Graphic Novel Reporter http://www.graphicnovelreporter.com/ YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/yalsa/booklistsawards/greatgraphicnovelsforteens/ggnt10.cfm Graphic Novel Cataloging http://wrltechserv.pbworks.com/w/page/14495767/Graphic-Novel-Cataloging Cooperative Children’s Book Center http://www.education.wisc.edu/ccbc/books/graphicnovels.aspOctober 25th, 2011 www.baya.org www.company.com