Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Room of Their Own

Something I've been thinking about doing for a while, but was finally spurred on to do this week when an entire JH class, starting a writing unit on graphic narratives, came in to check out graphic novels.

Though it's quite possible to give Dewey or Library of Congress call numbers to every single item in a library and line them up consecutively on the shelves, there are all kinds of ways to organize library materials that make more sense: for example, by format (having different sections & call numbers for DVDs, audio books, and print books); by genre/subject (B for Biography, V for Videos, Dewey numbers for Non-Fiction); or by size (a special Oversize section for those pesky tall books). The danger lies in having so many separate sections that the library becomes too much like a bookstore, all higgledy-piggledy and hard to find things in.

Graphic novels are usually classified with the Dewey Decimal number 741.5 (Drawing and decorative arts->Cartoons, caricatures, comics), together with books on how to draw comics, analyze comics, the history of comics, and comic strip collections (like Snoopy and Garfield). Readers who love graphic novels are intrigued by the format and will read broadly across subject areas -- biography, fiction, fantasy, history. Since we have a pretty decent-sized collection that's growing in popularity, it was time to pull the graphic narratives into a separate and easy-to-find area.

This corner in the magazine/reading/coffee table area of the library is high visibility and gets a lot of browsing, so even more students may now be hooked by the allure of graphic novels.

Whether you're a fan of graphic novels, or just curious, come by to browse the collection, or check this list to see what we've got for you.

ps -- for the time being, I'm going to leave the call numbers as they are. Coming up with a new section designation and printing new spine labels is a project for later, when this new section is settled.

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