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Monday, July 10, 2017

Comic Con is Coming....Graphic Novel Collection Development Time

July is my favorite time of year to not only suggest graphic novels, but also to work on the collection. Why? Because patrons and staff have comics on the brain once Comic Con International comes around. It is the one time of year that all the media outlets devote a least a little bit of time talking about comics; therefore, you will get your largest interest in your comics and graphic novels around this time also. [It’s just like the increase in horror circ we see in October.]

But it is not good enough for you to start preparing the day the Con begins. Nope. Let’s get ready now-- this week. Let’s get those Graphic Novel lists and displays out in preparation for the Con. Let’s show our patrons we can anticipate what they are going to want to read before they even know they want to read it.

While you are getting some displays up, you should also be assessing the condition of your collection. Which titles are not circing? Should those stay or get put on display to see if someone would like them if they knew you had it? Are their some well worn copies of perennial favorites that need to be replaced? Etc....

And, this is also the time to assess if you have the most recent bests. The easiest place to begin is this month’s issue of Booklist which is the Spotlight issue on Graphic Novels. Among the useful lists in this issue are the Top 10 Graphic Novels for Adults and this list of Adult Graphic Novels for Teens. You should own all 14 of these titles if you have even the most basic graphic novel collection for adults. So if you don’t have some, place your orders now.

Also check out the recent [2013] ARRT Graphic Novel Genre Study notes for not only a list of benchmark titles, but also, some basic information about the appeal of comics and graphic novels and how to talk to patrons about these titles. This is especially helpful for the comics newbies of you out there.

And, don’t forget that NPR Books is running a special series on Comics and Graphic Novels all summer long. Click through to see plenty of content that you can use to educate yourself on how to help your readers better, make displays, and work on your collections. I also anticipate that they are timing the release of their poll results for Comic Con time, making it even more imperative that you visit their series page now.

But overall your very best collection development and training tool for both assessing your collections and understanding the full breadth of the comic and graphic novel world is the Eisner Awards database. Yes I know this year’s Eisner winners won’t be announced until 7/21 [it’s during Comic Con], but if you’ve read this blog for even more than a hot second, you would know that I don’t care who wins when it comes to using these award as a RA tool, and really, neither should you.

Click here for a sampling of posts where I have made this argument in detail with examples, but knowing full well that some of you will never click, here is the summary of my point:
Awards lists-- especially the long lists-- give us a sense of what is the very best, right now, in the category we are dealing with, while the back list of nominees provides us with a treasure trove of “proven” suggestions for right now.
This is especially true for Graphic Novels and Comics because the format is so broad-- it compasses so many different genres AND we have the appeal of both the writing and art [and even the lettering] to deal with as we help readers. The Eisner Awards people also do a great job of posting the current nominees, with a summary explanation as to over all trends seen in that list. They also make it super easy to pull up past winners going back to 2010. Just one click here and you have the entire world of comics and graphic novels literally at your fingertips.

The nice thing about looking at past winners for comics and graphic novel is that you can also see artists and writers who appear in multiple categories over time. The graphic novel world is so different from the text only writing world because unlike that world, graphic novel writers and artists move between series and genres fluidly. Readers also differ in that while yes, some read for genre, many others [myself included] follow artists and writers no matter what type of project they tackle next.

Finally, I happen to love graphic novels. So if you want to see my reviews and/or information about graphic novels, you can use this link to pull up everything I have posted about Graphic Novels including many more resources.

I think that is plenty to keep you busy today. Now go dive into graphic novels and comics whether you are a personal fan or not. Your patrons will be thanking you for your effort 10 days from now and anytime of the year when they are looking for a good graphic read.

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