I’m just wrapping up my time here at the American Library Association annual conference, but just as thing are winding down HUGE HUGE NEWS has broken.
Most of the talk here at the show among graphic novel supporting librarians was the proposal to start a Graphic Novel Roundtable. upgrading the current interest group to a full fledged mini organization within the ALA. I know this is esoteric library talk, so here’s the layperson’s version.
Today the ALA’s governing council approved the roundtable. That means within the library structure, much much more can be done in the future for graphic novels, including (potentially) awards, events, guests and much much much more.
Librarians LOVE to organize things and when they set their minds to it, don’t underestimate them. It’s a huge win for Tina Coleman, who has been organizing the ALA’s artist alley and graphic novel pavilion for a few years now. I don’t want to leave anyone out so I’ll have shoutouts for more of the main players behind this later on.
The Beat’s Torsten Adair was on the scene when the decision was announced at a morning session and reports that after the presentation of the proposal was made yesterday there was very little debate on the council, and it was approved by a wide margin – the value and growth of graphic novels is well-known at this point.
Many steps remain to be taken, but it’s hoped that bylaws can be drafted and a membership drive can be started by September.
As I said, you may not understand quite what this means, but in the library market – where a single award can mean over 50,000 copies of a book will be purchased – this is a huge validation of the graphic novel category and we’ll see many effects rolling out in the coming years.
I’ll have more on the ALA and the incredible presence of GNs here, later today.
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.