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Two ways of looking at a library

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The Kansas City Star looks at the recent controversy over FUN HOME and BLANKETS:

But the books are notable because they’re also graphic novels, stories told primarily with drawings instead of words. They resemble comic books, but graphic novels typically run hundreds of pages and often tackle mature subject matter. And as graphic novels have become more common in libraries and bookstores, they have started to run into critics who say they’re too easily available to young children.

Meanwhile, in King County, WA kids can’t get enough of the comics!

Graphic novels are enjoying a meteoric rise among readers young and old.

The books, many of which are attractively bound and printed on high-stock paper, fall into many genres, and they’re so popular that three-quarters of the Kirkland Library’s teen collection is checked out at any given time, according to library staff.

To cater to the growing demand, and in recognition of Teen Read Month, library staff have created a new teen graphic novel section to display the library’s collection of popular titles, from old superhero standards to edgy new manga, from mainstream to alternative.

Though often stigmatized as trivial or juvenile, many graphic novels today grapple with heavy cultural or political issues.


They just couldn’t resist: “And they’re not just for kids.”

  1. This raises an interesting question… in all the libraries I’ve gone to, Graphic Novels have all been in one section (even though they come from lots of genres).

    Would we rather libraries disbursed them around the library according to their content and not their delivery mechanism?

    Or is it better for us to keep them all in one spot (which is part of what opens them up to the fear of kids seeing the one or two drawings of a naked lady in Blankets)?

    On the one hand it shows the work the respect it deserves as literature and its own section is a ghetto….
    on the other hand, graphic novels are still breaking in to the mainstream and people are probably more likely to come looking for one comic and then look at the others next to it. so a graphic section is probably more likely to spread the love.

    Hmmm….

    I know… Libraries should buy two copies and do both!

  2. This raises an interesting question… in all the libraries I’ve gone to, Graphic Novels have all been in one section (even though they come from lots of genres).

    That’s just asking for trouble.

  3. Wouldn’t it make more sense if there was a regular graphic novel section and a “youth” graphic novel section?

    I pick up graphic novels all the time, and even though I did feel a bit silly in the kids section looking for a graphic novel, it was worth it to read Mike Kunkel’s Herobear and the kid.

    8-10 year old boys are getting up after their parents are asleep to watch “erotic thrillers” on Skinamax. I highly doubt a drawing of boobs is going to rot their brains.

    All that talk of heaving bosoms and throbbing manhoods that can be found in romance novels are much more damaging than a small picture of nakedness.

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