Well that’s what my copy editor called my story for PW How Graphic Novels Became the Hottest Section in the Library. Over a couple of months I talked to many of the major players in the GN/library connection like Robin Brenner, Mike Pawuk, Karen Green, Christian Zabriskie, Tina Coleman and so on to get a picture of where graphic novels got started in libraries and where they are going.
Pockets of resistance remain, but generational objections to comics have dissipated among librarians. “People who don’t read them or grew up at a time when they were considered poor literature still have that stigma from the 1950s,” says Robin Brenner, teen librarian at the Brookline Public Library in Massachusetts and a leading crusader for comics in libraries. But it’s hard to stay dissatisfied with comics’ high circulation numbers. According to librarians surveyed for this article, graphic novels are among the most circulated categories, right up there with teen paranormal romance and DVDs.
While comics watcher are justifiably obsessed with Diamond statistics, it’s vital to know that there is an army of library specialists out there who have their own army of facts and figures on circulation. I kind of wrote this story to set out a history of the recent growth of GNs in libraries and set the stage for the further exploration to come. At C2E2’s professional shows last week, the retailer panels were sparsely attended because they were so specialized, but the library and educational panels were packed. There’s a lot of energy in this area right now, and the smart folks are jumping on board and teaming up.
I’ll have more from this Friday’s day of library and educational programming prior to TCAF.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.