Graphic Novels And Your Library


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Will Heckman

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Graphic Novels And Your Library

  1. 1. "The format of the comic book presents a montage of both words and images, and the reader is thus required to exercise both visual and verbal interpretive skills. The regimens of art (e.g. perspective, symmetry, brush stroke) and the regimens of literature (e.g. grammar, plot, syntax) become superimposed upon each other. The reading of the comic book is an act of both aesthetic perception and intellectual pursuit." Will Eisner 1985, Comics & Sequential Art
  2. 2. Librarians and Reading <ul><li>Can you guess to what question these students are raising their hands? </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>How many of you do not like to read? </li></ul>
  4. 4. What do we do to promote reading? Students tell Media Specialists all the time that they don’t like to read. I tell them they are just not reading what they like. Isn’t it time we gave them something they really like!
  5. 5. Who will be the new Heroes of reading Promotion? <ul><li>The same heroes we have known since we were children . </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>&quot;The presence of comics in a junior high school library resulted in a dramatic 82% increase in library traffic and a 30% increase in circulation of non-comic books.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Dorrell & Carroll School Library Journal </li></ul>
  7. 7. Why are Graphic Novels such a great reading promoter <ul><li>Broaden & strengthen library collections. </li></ul><ul><li>Attract new readers and students of all ages and skill levels. </li></ul><ul><li>Help educators reach one of the most challenging student demographics: young adult males. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Graphic Novels are especially good for attracting reluctant readers because: <ul><li>They are powerful motivational tools that can capture and maintain the reader’s interest. </li></ul><ul><li>Their illustrations provide contextual clues to the written text, making them ideal for remedial reading programs. </li></ul><ul><li>They can give reluctant readers the non-threatening practice and experience needed to inspire confidence and progress to more challenging text. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Stats tell the story Graphic novels comprise less the 1% of the collection Graphic novels can account for approximately 25-60% of circulation
  10. 10. AND NOW THE CONCERNS <ul><li>1. Parents and community members will object to GN & Comics in the Library. </li></ul><ul><li>2. GN’s are junk literature, unsuitable for Libraries. </li></ul><ul><li>3. GN’s portray violence, sexism, anti-social behavior, and other inappropriate themes. </li></ul><ul><li>4. GN’s depict women in an unrealistic way. </li></ul>
  11. 11. #1 Objections from Parents <ul><li>Mostly this fear is unfounded. In fact the opposite is true. Most parents often express delight and enthusiasm when they learn of the collection. As long as the collection is appropriate to the age level. </li></ul>
  12. 12. #2 Graphic Novels are unsuitable for libraries. <ul><li>Many GN’s represent serious works worthy of serious attention. Some have won Pulitzer prizes. For every ten books like “The murder Family ”, publishers manage to produce at least one outstanding title like “Mause: A Survivor’s Tale.” GN’s are an art form and an important aspect of pop culture. Traditionally, libraries have preserved all types of literature. No defensible reasons can be given to exclude GNs and comic books from this mission. </li></ul>
  13. 13. #3 They portray inappropriate messages or themes. <ul><li>The majority of GN’s, especially traditional super-hero ones, give positive messages , such as good vs. evil and using ones powers to help others. Spiderman and Wonder Woman are positive role models for boys and girls. Gloria Steinem has written about the impact Wonder Woman had on her and other young girls. Some of today’s GN’s do have questionable material. As with any collection building effort, librarians need to determine what is appropriate for their patrons. </li></ul>
  14. 14. #4 Depiction of women <ul><li>In the past the target audience for comics have been teenage and college age boys. As a result GN’s can portray women in a unrealistic light, but so does sports illustrated. Even Supergirl and Wonder Women wear skimpy costumes. Two sub-genres that are popular are the bad-girl and babe comics. Happily, an increasing number of current GN’s portray women in a more realistic way. Also, several ongoing titles provide wonderful heroic role models for younger girls. If it is any consolation, few men look like Conan. This is escapism. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Selection Tips <ul><li>Avoid surprises, try to preview as many GN’s as you can or read reviews before putting them on the shelf. </li></ul><ul><li>Be wary of publishers with reputations for controversial materials(e.g., DC’s Vertigo). </li></ul><ul><li>Learn which authors write for which audience. </li></ul><ul><li>Visit web sites and get to know the industry. </li></ul><ul><li>Let your vendor know what you want. </li></ul><ul><li>Include a statement in your collection development policy addressing GN’s. </li></ul><ul><li>Be prepare to respond to censorship challenges, should they arise. </li></ul>
  16. 16. GN’s Are Not just for Reluctant Readers <ul><li>GN’s also hold great appeal for gifted students. Several studies show that fantasy and science fiction are the favorite genres of recreational reading for gifted students. These students are captivated by the believable details of well-crafted imaginary worlds. </li></ul><ul><li>Most Pre-teens and teens have tried their hand at writing or drawing their own comics. </li></ul><ul><li>Many well known writers, directors,actors and illustrators admit to being GN and comic book fans. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Japanese Manga & Anime <ul><li>A new influx of Japanese GN’s are very popular. </li></ul><ul><li>These Gn’s also range in age appropriateness and need to be selected carefully . </li></ul>
  18. 18. Something for Everyone <ul><li>If you choose to start a GN collection, help is out there, and they or I may or may not be wearing a red cape. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Who will be the new Heroes of reading promotion? <ul><li>YOU </li></ul>
  20. 20. For More help <ul><li>Contact </li></ul><ul><li>Will Heckman </li></ul><ul><li>Librarian </li></ul><ul><li>at Boynton Beach H.S </li></ul>