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Kat Kan On The Influence Of Librarians On This Golden Age Of Comics
posted July 17, 2009

Thanks for linking to ALA's Inside Scoop summary of the panel on comics and censorship at the American Library Association Annual Conference. It's nice to see someone other than Milton Griepp of ICv2 mentioning what libraries are doing.

I have worked as a librarian since 1983, and I've been advocating for comics and graphic novels in libraries right from the beginning of my career. By the time of the 2002 Preconference that Gaiman mentioned during the panel, I'd been putting comics and graphic novels into libraries where I worked for 19 years. Librarians definitely need to be acknowledged for what we've been doing for decades; I was not the first librarian to add comics to my collection, but I was one of the earlier ones. I also have been writing a review column in Voice of Youth Advocates which is the longest-running graphic novel review column in library literature - I started doing that in 1993. It's partly because of that column that some comics publishers do send me review copies.

We are gaining some respect; I was the first librarian chosen to be an Eisner judge, for the 2005 Eisners. Since then, the judges' panel for the Eisners has included a librarian every year. Some comics bloggers will link to the Great Graphic Novels for Teens list (first list came out in 2007), which is selected by a committee of librarians who serve teens. But I would like to see more publishers acknowledge that libraries are a growing market for comics and graphic novels, especially now that school and university libraries are increasing their collections, and some schools and universities are using comics in the classroom.