Young Adult Graphic Novel Collection Development for Public Libraries
Welcome, this is a resource to help guide you into helping, as the title says, develop a
Young Adult Graphic Novel Collection for a public library. We visit a variety of sources
to help you on your development quest. Some of these sources are your more tradition
sources like books, scholarly journals, and professional journals, but with teens at times
you must think outside the box. So we travel to thing like wikis, blogs, and other places
on the web.
You will find philosophies on development here, ways to convince those who might be
hesitant to start a collection in a library to helping convince those in charge to grow a
collection. Because a graphic novel collection isn’t just something you buy a lot of in the
beginning and forget about it. Graphic Novels grow from comic book series and most of
those are on-going series and in order to get the full story, a library must order multiple
volumes of a series; just like they do with novel series.
I have also included many of the resources I use to help develop the Graphic Novel
collection at the Lexington Public Library in Davidson County for our Young Adults; like
the Diamond Comics best selling sales report. They are like the New York Times best
sellers list but are actually bases on actual sales figures with what people and teens are
And I believe that manga (Japanese Comics) and graphic novels fall into the same
category so you will see sources on developing that as well. As for the graphic novels I
not only look at the main stream publishers (Marvel, DC), but the independent
publishers as well; because there is much more out there than men and women in
spandex and capes.
YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens. Retrieved February 20, 2009 from
YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) is a division of ALA (American
Library Association). Each year they comprise a list of Great Graphic Novels for Teens
and Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens. These lists are comprised of a variety of
comic book companies both independent and main stream along with manga
publishers. After a list of nominees is comprised, a committee of ten members and a
chair distil the nominees into the list. There are strict guidelines for this process to be
fair and not influenced by publishers or creators of these nominees.
Starting a Graphic Novel Collection
This website article brings up many great points about what ones needs to do before
and after starting a Graphic Novel Collection in a Library. The site covers eight key
points about starting and maintaining the collection with determining the need of the
collection, finding an expert to help guide you through the ocean of graphic novels out
there, purchasing the graphic novels for the library, the all important cataloging and
shelving question, promoting the comics in the new collection, to evaluating the
numbers and how well they are circulating, following up with the patrons with polls to
see if the library is ordering what they are interested in and want, to finally making
graphic novels a regular part of the ordering process.
Top 50 Selling Graphic Novels
This might be an odd site to have in the collection development of a YA Graphic Novel
development, but Diamond Comics is the major distributor of comics, graphic novel,
manga and pop culture matrials in the US. They are nice enough to share their data on
what is their top selling items. This list is used to see if any graphic novel that should
have been ordered is ordered. In a way this is a New York Times Best Selling List
based on actual sales data of what people are really ordering, which tends to be what
most people/patrons are interested in reading. This list is updated on a monthly basis.
Top 25 Manga
This is list is similar to the one above, but it focuses strickly on Manga instead of graphic
novels. Both of these sources are ways of thinking outside the box of collection
development of a graphic novel collection. But it does fall back upon the concept of
numbers and how well something is doing or not doing.
DC Comics is proud to present 30 Essential Graphic Novels!
This is a series of the top 30 Essential Graphic Novels focusing on DC Comics. One
might believe this list is one sided since it was put together by the publishing company.
But this list contains New York Times Best Sellers, Eisner Award Winners, Hugo
Winners, and Graphic Novels given praise to by Time, Publisher Weekly, New York
Times, Entertainment Weekly, Washington Post, Boston Phoenix, etc. "This was one of
the first lists I consulted once I was given the go ahead to increase the size of our
graphic novel collection." And teens do love the spandex heroes and these are the best
of the best for DC comics.
Eisner Awards http://www.comic-con.org/cci/cci_eisners_main.shtml
The Eisner Awards are the Oscars of the comic book world. The comics/graphic novels
that win the Eisner Award on any given year are considered the best of the best. These
are the comics/graphic novels that will not only inspire the creators of today, but those
of tomorrow. The awards are given to main stream content to the independent content.
This site lists only the previous year winners.
Eisner Awards Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eisner_Award
This wiki lists all past and present winners of the Eisner Award. This is a useful tool
because at times a single issue or story line that wins a Eisner Award may not win as a
collected volume so this lets you see what is considered the best of the best and gives
the ability to track down where a story is collected so it can be added to a graphic novel
Graphic Novels Core
This is an online database (pay) through W.H. Wilson. It covers over 2000 titles and is
searchable in numerous ways to find what one is looking for, for their graphic novel
collection. The database also includes reviews, it will link to a library’s OPAC to check to
see if a title is already in the collection or not. You also have the ability to search the
database by grade levels, recommendations, and for graphic novels that fit into
traditional roles of being fiction, nonfiction, or biography; because graphic novels come
in all shapes and sizes.
Scholarly Journal Articles
Holston, A. & Nguyen, T., (Fall 2008). The Maverick Graphic Novel List: Unmasking the
mystery of comics and graphic novels for libraries. Texas Library Journal, v. 84 no. 3, p.
Holton and Nguyen cover the importance of developing a Graphic Novel Collection for
the public library system. They cover meeting user needs to growth of the industry in
general. They cover how the publishing companies are embracing and helping public
libraries grow and begin their graphic novel collections. It also contains a phenomenal
bibliography of resources for libraries to use for their collection development of graphic
Heaney, M., (2007). Graphic novels: a sure bet for your library. Collection Development,
v.26 issue 26, p.72-6
This is a very scholarly break down of graphic novel development and the article speaks
in a very educational way. It brings information throughout this entire collection
development wiki into a different way of speaking about the topic, which is a good thing,
because no two people consume their information the same way. So having the same
information presented in a different for scholarly distilled way is very helpful. It also
gives a great list of references and further reading sources.
Charbonneau, O., (Summer 2005). Adult Graphic Novels Readers. Young Adult Library
Services, v. 3 issue 4, p. 39-42
This is unique look at collection development of a graphic novel collection in Canada.
But what makes this even more interesting is that the author shows a survey they had
used to help build a better graphic novel and manga collection for their patrons. The
survey has very opened questions that do not appear to lead the survey taker and
would mesh well here in the United States or any country.
Crawford, P., (Feb 2004). A Novel Approach: Using Graphic Novels to Attract Reluctant
Readers and Promote Literacy. Library Media Connection, v. 22 no. 5, p. 26-8
Not everyone likes to read a book; it can seem intimidating especially if the reader of the
book isn’t a strong reader, like those with a learning disability. This article goes into how
graphic novels can help with literacy and how graphic novels contain context clues
within the art of the story to help the reader understand what they are reading. And I do
believe that libraries are there to help its patrons regardless of age to grow and better
themselves if they so choose. This journal article has a wonderful list of suggested titles
to help these reluctant readers to learn the enjoyment of reading and these lists are
broken down genera and have blurbs about each title as well.
Cox Clark, R., (Nov/Dec 2008). Older Teens Are Serious About Their Series: Forensic
Mysteries, Graphic Novels, Horror, Supernatural, and Chick Lit Series. Library Media
Connection, v. 27 issue 3, p. 22-3
This article has you look at graphic novels in a different way. The article sees graphic
novels as a series like any other series that might exist in standard literature, which can
be another way to present graphic novels as something more than just comic books or
funny books, since there is the sense or serial or series story telling that is found in a lot
of Young Adult lit. And it is something that teen patrons do look for in their books.
Foster, K., (Feb 2004). Graphic Novels in Libraries: An Expert's Opinion. Library Media
Connection, v. 22 no. 5, p. 30-2
There can be resistance to adding graphic novels to a library, but this article helps break
down those barriers; because no matter how many great lists you have filled with titles
of graphic novel if you don't have the support and a-okay of your library's lib. , director,
or others involved in the selecting and buying process there can be no collection.
Nylund, C., (Feb 2007). Selecting Mangas and Graphic Novels. Library Media
Connection, v. 25 no. 5, p. 30
This is a nice one page article of someone who originally was hesitant about adding
graphic novels and manga to their collection and the process they went through to
educate themselves on the subject matter. And it is always good to have those first
person experiences; so when developing those collections you don’t have to make
those mistakes another has made. You can mistakes all your own.
Baird, Z., Jackson, T., (2007). Got Graphic Novels? More Than Just Superheroes in
Tights! Children & Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to
Children, v. 5 issue 1, p. 4-7
This article covers graphic novels for the younger young adults that might be looking at
the graphic novels you have in the collection. It also goes into a quick history of graphic
novels and discuses quite a bit of the non-superhero titles out there like Bone or the
graphic novels that have adapted the works of L.R. Stine of Goosebumps fame.
Serchay, D. (2008). The Librarian's Guide to Graphic Novels for Children and Tweens,
New York, NY:Neal-Schuman Publishers
This book covers both graphic novels and manga for collection growth and
development for a library. It speaks to the subject matter in the ways teens and tweens
might; it helps breaks down those barriers that can exist between the generations
especially if the developer isn’t into these sorts of materials. The book helps cover these
various genres of graphic novels and manga that exist including the nonfiction and
biographies. Yes graphic novels and manga deal with the real as much with unreal and
Graphic Novels in Libraries (GNLIB) http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GNLIB-L/
This Listserv was founded in Oct 30, 2007, and is described as a “Discussion of graphic
novels and comic literature, primarily of interest to public and school librarians.
Membership is open to librarians, industry professionals, and authors/illustrators to
share reviews and resources for graphic novel collections.” It currently has over 640
members and was recommend by Snow Wildsmith Librarian for the Public Library of
Charlotte & Mecklenburg County via her blog.
Graphic Novels. (2008). Dragon Con: Young Adult Literature Track.
Panelist: Ted Naifeh, Davey Beauchamp, MB Weston, Snow Wildsmith
Panel Description: In our visual culture, where stories combining text and pictures are
increasingly popular, graphic novels are as diverse as today's YA readers. We'll be
exploring graphic novels from Bone to American Born Chinese.
The description says a lot about what was discussed at the panel. The panel was
comprised of a librarian from the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County in
NC, library associate 2 (Davidson County Public Libraries in NC)/author, teacher, and
creator. On the panel they discussed heavily graphic novels in the public library system
and what they do/did to help grow their collection and their selection process. Attendees
were given various handouts listing graphic novels in their various collection, which
covered both main stream, independent, and manga graphic novels.
Simba Information., (2008) Category Review: Graphic Novels Continue to Grow; Manga
Dominates the Lists, Book Publishing Report, Vol. 33 Issue 7, p1-4
This is another source to help those whom are trying to get over that initial hump of
trying to get a graphic novel collection going or trying to help justify the collection if it
isn't performing as one had hoped as quickly as they might have hoped. As a public
library we tend to live and die by the numbers. A perfect system no, but it helps with
justification to those we get funding from. And this article discusses the growth of the
graphic novel and manga industry. This would be another tool to take to the people who
do the ordering if there is resistance to starting or continuing the collection.
Haynes, E. (2009). Getting Started with Graphic Novels in School Libraries. Library
Media Connection, v. 27 no. 4, p. 10-12
Wildsmith, S. (2009). Fujoshi Librarian. Blog. http://snowcleo.livejournal.com/
Koltzenburg, T. (2008). Graphic Novel Donation to WIU's Malpass Library Helps Grow
Special Collection. Press Release.
McBroom, K. (2008). Professional Reading. Booklist, v. 105 issue 4, p. 87
McBroom, K. (2008). Graphic Novels Core Collection. Booklist, v. 104 Issue 14, p. 77