Quick summary: As the title states, it is a collection development book aimed at librarians who work with k-12 on purchasing, promoting, justifying, and defending their graphic novel collection.
tl;dr summary: Despite the fact this is geared for public librarians, there is a lot of rich material and resources that are relevant to academics or special librarians. Miller ditches chatter and presents the content in a clean, organized style. While I read this on consecutive order, you could easily jump from section to section. Each section is summed up with main points presented, which I found refreshing and easy to track. While the most content is still relevant nearly a decade after publication, it is not without its flaws. Which brings us to tbe problem of the book: It was published in 2005 and many of the recommended titles are out of print or recommended web resources are dead. This title should should not be a one off, but should be revised every few years to keep it fresh.
When looking for titles for support in graphic novels, titles are usually geared for public libraries, school libraries, hard core research, or the youths; basically everyone and thing other than what I’m looking for. I’m an academic librarian at a community college whose demographic is older then teens but whose collections are not geared for serious research. We’re kind of in a no mans land when it comes to available materials to support some of our topics, graphic novels being one of them. There has to be something that can answer my questions about collection development and be easily accessible.
So when I was shelf walking one day, I saw this title sitting with other collection development titles. I was intrigued but skeptical because we’re neither a public library nor is our core audience teens, so it seemed out of place. I picked it up regardless of my first impression.
Boy was I wrong.
At only 130 pages, Developing and Promoting Graphic Novel Collections, doesn’t seem like it would offer a lot of guidance on collection development or offer practical advice. You would be wrong. Organized in an easy to follow manner, DaPGNC cuts to the quick starting with history of GNs to genres, and then moves briskly along to collection development guidelines (Use the 5 Cs: credibility, circulation, commitment, collection, and cost), maintenance, suggestions for circulation, marketing, and programming,
Each section is broken down to a paragraph or two of what it is, then examples (if needed), then a summary which includes bullet points of what you’ve just read. I thought this set up was brilliant because it makes it easier to find information later if you’re scanning bullet points. I also liked how he wrote with a very minimalist style and dropped the theory behind all the information he was presenting. Just the facts please.
Additionally, what makes DaPGNC intriguing is that the use of “teen,” “YA,” “juvenile” or anything to signify the youths is kept at a very bare minimum. For example, in promotions, Miller refers to using both Teen Advisory Board and general public when soliciting ideas. In fact, Miller’s lack of mentioning the youths was so infrequent, I kept checking the title of the book to make sure I was reading the right book because after all, this is part of a Teens @ The Library series. This is not to say there isn’t sections about working with teens and the collection, but it’s so subtle you almost miss it. Someone looking for a how-to book geared to working with teens might find this bit annoying. Personally, I loved it.
This for me is a good thing – I am thrilled to not only have a great resource but I needed it to be a resource I could practically use that was not heavily slated to one demographic over another, which was my big worry. This title definitely fits that bill.
All through the book, Miller makes recommendations for print titles as well as websites to support the collection. While many of the suggestions are still easily available and the websites are still active, due to the age of the book (8 years), many were not. This was pretty frustrating when Miller makes a great recommendation only to find not only is the link dead, but it was never picked up somewhere else.
In addition to succinct information, Miller also presents lots and lots of ideas on marketing, programming, and collection development. While some of them are not feasible at my current library, but his suggestions and recommendations will become handy one day. Additionally, he includes cross reference of recommended titles in the back, along with an index and list of additional resources (many of which are now dead ).
I give this book 3.5/5 because of the currency issue and some of the content issue, but overall this book is stellar for anyone needing a reference title for graphic novel collection development, regardless of library.