Maximizing the Impact of Comics in Your Library: Graphic Novels, Manga, and More

Libraries Unlimited. Mar. 2020. 230p. pap. $55. ISBN 9781440868856.
Those eager to incorporate graphic novels into their collections will find Phoenix’s (Willowick P.L.) text a godsend. The author succinctly walks librarians through the basics of comics and their history, skillfully covering the commonalities and differences in types of comics while keeping readers’ needs at the forefront. His discussion of how patrons look for comics and how librarians can catalog comics to best serve readers is invaluable, and he offers practical steps toward making comic collections more accessible. He also explores partnerships with local comic shops and how graphic novels correlate with curricula. Phoenix’s suggestions about ways to promote comics are tiered, so libraries can start small and work their way up to a comic convention. He also covers professional development, such as attending webinars or comic conventions. Fascinating interviews with comic writers and librarians are interspersed throughout. While the contents are applicable to both public and school librarians, the author acknowledges that institutions will have to take their missions and stakeholders into account when developing a collection. He advises school librarians to be familiar with a graphic novel’s contents and its connection to the curriculum before selecting it. Three appendixes, including recommended titles, add to the work’s utility.
VERDICT Marrying in-depth knowledge of comics and libraries, Phoenix has produced a practical, user-friendly read that’s essential book for school and public librarians.

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