The Eastern Connecticut Young Adult Roundtable met on Friday May 9, 2008 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Thompson Public Library. The meeting focused on graphic novels.
Our guest speaker was Michele, of Wonderland Comics. Michele and her husband have owned the store in Putnam, Connecticut since 2003. She provided handouts answering specific questions such as: What are Graphic Novels and Comics? What is Manga? And what are the Top Ten Titles for Kids and Young Adults? Don’t fret if you lost your handouts or were unable to attend the meeting, this information is not lost! Simply go to Diamond Comics and click on Bookshelf. Here you will find things like Core Lists, Lesson Plans and much more. Just be prepared to spend some time researching, there is a lot of useful information on this website.
We discussed where should these books should be shelved. Should they just be in with the nonfiction 741s or have their own prefix? The consensus was that it is better to separate them and label them possibly as YGN (for Young Adult Graphic Novel) or JGN (for Juvenile Graphic Novel). Naturally, whatever works best for your library is the best solution of all.
Fellow librarians are finding great popularity with the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Baby Mouse, and all the super heroes in graphic novel format. Sadly budget restraints do not allow every library to freely purchase all these new graphic novels. The Service Centers have collections of graphic novels for loan to schools and libraries. Linda also passed around the book Graphic Novels: A Genre Guide to Comic Books, Manga and More. This book is a powerful resource for all librarians. It can guide you to selecting books based on age groups. We all agreed that some of these books, especially manga, can be especially graphic. Even when books are listed as award winners, it does not necessarily mean that there won’t be a surprise sexual scene or an incredibly graphic drawing that will shock a younger reader and adults as well. The one thing to remember though is that these books are very popular now. As librarians, we are promoting literacy, in any format.
As part of the conclusion to this meeting, we were able to browse and take home several free graphic novels generously donated by Wonderland Comics. Michele said their store would be willing to offer a 25 % discount to libraries and to assist with any questions about developing a graphic novel collection. Just for interesting statistics, on Free Comic Book Day, their store had 4000 copies of free comics to give away. She only has a handful left.
Our next meeting, originally scheduled to take place in Ledyard, has been re-scheduled for September 12th at 1:00 p.m. at the Willimantic Library Service Center computer lab (we’d like to have the November meeting in Ledyard and will check on that). Our focus will be on how to use iGoogle, blogs and other internet tools that can help us with what we do! Please let Linda know if you have a particular web feature you would like covered at the next meeting.
Until then – Happy Summer Everyone! ~ Claudette, Killingly Public Library