When I started at the Northbrook Public Library, one of the things they really wanted to explore was creating an Adult Graphic Novel collection. This is the second time I have built up a Graphic Novel section with an adult focus and I thought it might be useful to share some tips and tricks from my experiences.
First of all, I'm a comic book and graphic novel reader, and that in itself helps significantly. If you are in charge of creating this type of collection, I would recommend that you get yourself in a comic book store stat.
Not sure where the closest one is? Use a Comic Shop Locator. I know they can be intimidating but any truly good comic shop will not make you feel bad for being a newb. In fact, you should tell them you're a newb, and that you want to start reading some core, entry-level comics and graphic novels.
Once you start reading, you can look into building up your collection. The fact is, most comics and graphic novels just aren't going to be reviewed in the regular places, like Publishers Weekly or Library Journal. While our regular resources cover some things, you need to think outside the box for collection development resources. My personal favorites are:
I'm not saying you have to obsessively read every single thing posted on all these sites. But be familiar with them. Use their reviews. And check back on them on a regular basis.
Now let's talk about core materials, which are extremely important to building up any collection. My all-time favorite resource for graphic and comic book core lists are produced by Graphic Novel Reporter, a truly awesome resource. If you are super busy and only have time to peruse one of the sites I mentioned above, this is a very reliable resource. This website has pretty much everything a newbie librarian needs to jump head first into a graphic novel collection, including (zomg!) discussion guides!! (squee!!) You can find their core lists here:
A few things to keep in mind for your collection:
How are you going to organize these?
Schedule a meeting with your Tech Services department and the person who will be cataloging them. In many Youth Services departments they tend to do a character call number system - for example, all books about Batman will have a call number: Graphic Novel Batman. And this makes sense for Youth Services because as we all know, some kids just want to read absolutely everything about Spiderman or Batman or if they're particularly awesome kids, Wonder Woman. *grin*
However, I would advise against this for an adult collection. There are many different versions of characters written by different authors. I prefer to keep the entire collection together, both Fiction and Nonfiction, and call numbers reflect the last name of the author. Keep it simple.
Graphic novels and comic books are different, but you should include both in your collection.
Comic books are not just for kids - just as important and read by just as many adults. However this doesn't mean putting single issues into your collection. You will be buying something called a Trade: this is single issues bound together in paperback or hardcover format.
When you're buying an ongoing series of comics, there will always be a specific order.
Use Wikipedia to find the order, especially for long series. It
always correct, contains issue numbers, will give you info on omnibuses, and if you're really lucky, will even give you the ISBN. VERY useful tool.
Think hard about shelving and your budget.
Graphic novels are generally more expensive and much bigger than the average book. So plan your budget and space accordingly.
Don't forget about Manga!!
Teens read Manga but just like comic books, so do adults. That said, depending on your space and budget, manga can have many, many issues. I would recommend checking out the Core List provided by Graphic Novel Reporter, picking one or two out, and then observe.
Most importantly, HAVE FUN!
Adult graphic novel collections are so much fun to be in charge of - enjoy the experience.
Are you in charge of this type of collection? Do you have advice to pass on or resources that you particularly love? Please share in the comments!