Bagged & Boarded: The Last Musketeer

The Last Musketeer
by Jason (story & art)
[Amazon | Worldcat | GoodReads | Comixology]
Length: 48 pages
Release date: January 17, 2008
Publisher: Fantagraphics
Rating: 5/5 stars
I was intrigued enough by Jason’s Athos in America, his collection of shorts, to start reading his back catalog. I am not even remotely disappointed: Martians, duels, strong women, romance, space travel, and much much more. The Last Musketeer may be terse in page size, but it packs a wallop of a story. This is storytelling done right, to the point, entertaining, good character development, and not in the least superfluous in the art. I love how stark and monochromatic the art feels, which does not detect from the story but actually enhances it.
This is highly recommended.

Bagged & Boarded: Bad Houses

badhousesBad Houses
by Sara Ryan (story) and Carla Speed McNeil (art)
[Amazon | Worldcat | GoodReads | Comixology]
Length: 156 pages
Release date: October 29, 2013
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
tl;dr: An engrossing tale of two people who fall in love, but it’s also a story of healing the past and moving towards the future. So while the book is great, it’s not amazing and that is perhaps its failing. It could have been amazing but it simply did not live up to its potential.
ReviewBad Houses is marketed by Dark House as juvenile fiction but I don’t think that’s accurate. The story contains adult situations that are reads far too sophisticated for juvenilia.
The story is on point and the side stories are fill in the edges. The flashbacks hint at things that are not fleshed out, but that’s okay — the end doesn’t need a pretty bow to necessarily feel complete. You know, feel, and love the characters as if they are a part of your own existing circle of friends. Character development is exquisite and the art is gorgeous. Ryan’s ability to capture the essence of a person in succinct form is a brilliant trait coupled with McNeil’s art makes this a joyous book to hold.
But the more I sit with this story, the more I feel as if something is missing from the tale.  I don’t’ feel satiated when I closed the cover. Sure, I want more of  Anne/Lewis, but there is an element in their story that is missing. If Ryan had explored that more with her writing, let McNeil fill in the art bits, the story would have been perfect. But as such, it isn’t and rates only 3.5/5 stars.

Librarian How To: Graphic Novel Collection Development in Academia

Dear Internet,
As my tenure at MPOW gets closer to the end, I’m in the process of writing lots and lots of documentation for my successor1. One of my projects I’m most proud of, and hope will be continued, is my graphic novel collection (which will always be mine no matter what). Since I seem to be fielding lots of questions from people in all sorts of places about graphic novel collection development in academia, I usually point people to my project Graphicdemia since that has all of my resources. But there are a few questions I have not really answered such as WHAT I’m collecting and HOW I’m marketing the collection to my community.
This post should answer those question. (Warning: Some of the content is culled from stuff I’ve written in emails, comments, and documentation so it may sound a bit familiar.)
Collecting graphic novels at a community college is a weird niche. We’re not a research institution nor are we a public library, so our needs are different and are often left unaddressed. If you look at a lot of professional publications, they more often than not push their recommendations towards public libraries (mostly) OR gear their recommendations for research libraries. Thus, trying to collect and being active in this area  while considered a niche area is is kind of difficult at times.
With that being said, when I started ramping up the collection in the spring of 2012, it contained less than two dozen items and as of today, now contains closer to 300 items.
Not too shabby.
How do I decide on what to collect?
The collection is split into two with history, how-tos, criticism, and biographies of the creators located in 741.5s. Graphic novels themselves are located at the beginning of the fiction collection with the local call number Graphic Novel, are alphabetized by the creator’s last name, and have a “Graphic Novel” designated sticker on the spine.
We did this for a couple of reasons.
While the collection circulates, much of the circulation was happening outside the community via interlibrary loan. As I will later note, we were doing quite a bit of promotion within the library, but since the core collection was still stuck in the stacks (and students seemingly hate browsing the stacks just for fun), we weren’t seeing a lot of internal traffic happening with the collection. The librarians had recently decided we were going to clean up our fiction collection (adding more local authors, getting in more popular materials, updating existing copies) and I thought this would be a good time to move the core graphic novel collection to the beginning of the fiction stacks for better visibility. Our fiction stacks are prowled through quite a bit and the hope was to increase circulation within the local community by their shelf-reading.
This tactic worked. Our circulation has improved dramatically.
How did I select works? Works were selected with the following criteria:

  • If the work is geared for ages 16+
  • Preference is given if the work is an anthology, biography, historical (fiction or non-fiction), cultural, literary, standalone, regional, or independently published
  • If the work is currently not fairly represented in MeLCat (our statewide consortium) or in GRPL or KDL
    • Example: Gail Simone’s Red Sonja, which came out in March and was highly anticipated, is not currently showing up in MeLCat at any of the over 300 libraries in the state. So I ordered it for MPOW.
  • If the work is being used for an event on campus, classroom, or other college related activities
  • As space is limited, and GRPL is located across the street, long running or complex series’ and manga will not be considered unless they fall into the above definitions

Because of the nature of the collection, I use the following for collection development resources:

I bought criticisms, how-tos, commentary, and anthologies in addition to the stand alone books because I wanted to provide historical and popular thought to the collection. While it is important to me that people read comics, it is also as important to know the hows and whys comics are the way they are. I attempted to keep these titles more mainstream and less academic-y but still provide diverse thought and various reading levels.

On to promotion! You’ve got the collection started, now what?

  • Like any good librarian, the first thing I did was create a Subject Guide. In addition to keeping in line with the template the librarian’s developed for the guides, I decided to also add tabs for blogs and journals; reading lists and collections; museum, societies, and careers; conventions (local AND national) and comic book stores; and then a direct link to our graphic novels board on Pinterest.
    • Monthly, I would also update the “New Title” section of the guide to showcase latest titles received at the library.
  • I routinely advertise to various departments (English, History, Art, ESL) who also create assignments based on the collection though we do not have a graphic novel class yet! 
  • I blogged about graphic novels on MPOW’s blog, which also cross-posts to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.
  • As previously mentioned, I curate a board on Pinterest that is updated monthly with new titles and links back to the library’s catalog
  • I advertise through various college communications for events (banned books week, free comic book day, etc)
  • When we were doing displays throughout the library, I would create and rotate themed displays featuring graphic novels
  • We created promotional materials (bookmarks, mini posters) to display or hand out
  • I contacted our local public library system to partner with them for various events that could not be handled here at MPOW for whatever reason
  • I contacted our local comic book store (LCS) to also do promotions and events as well as to buy our comics through them (support local businesses, yo!)
  • I also did outreach to various student groups on campus that might be inclined to read comics (anime club, gaming club, etc)

As I mentioned last month when I wrote up Kristin’s panel at C2E2, colleges AND other educational institution can get involved for either local or national events by doing the following:

  • Partner with your local public library AND LCS to do cross-marketing for their events
  • Create displays around the library to promote the events
  • Create Pinterest boards to showcase your graphic novel collection
    • Also utilize social media
  • Volunteer at LCS and/or public library for the event (if applicable)
  • Work with departments to use graphic novels in their instruction, promote their teachings / class list

In addition to all of the above (phew!), you can also join the Graphic Novels in Libraries mailing list, while geared towards public libraries, is chock full of info. Additionally, there are several MOOCs happening dedicated to comics and graphic novels. Coursera has a class starting in August and Canvas Network has class going on right now.
And as always, all of this information (and more) is always available at the Graphicdemia project page.

Bagged & Boarded: Athos in America

athos Athos in America by Jason
[Amazon | Worldcat | GoodReads | Comixology]
Rating: 4/5 stars
tl;dr summary: Six thinly connected short stories by the master of minimalism. A must read.
Review: This is my first Jason book and it won’t be my last. You would be hard pressed to find another engrossing, and quickly read, collection wrapped up in 200 pages but here we are.
Beautifully drawn, complexly connected, and raw, Jason’s stories illustrate the underbelly of human condition dressed up in anthropomorphic animals. This does not (surprisingly) detract from the stories but make them more strongly felt. The last story, Athos in America (which also names the book), is the prequel of sorts to Jason’s The Last Musketeer, which is also heavily recommended and reviewed.

This day in Lisa-Universe: 1999

How To: Free Comic Book Day At Your Library

Kristin cosplaying as Aquaman

Dear Internet,
It’s early spring which means C2E2! This is one of my favorite times of the year as I get to meet up with my CMMRB BFFs, I’m in Chicago, the weather is brilliant, and of course, comics.
This year Kristin was asked to do a panel on setting up a Free Comic Book Day event at the local library, along with reps from Comix Revolution and Diamond Distributors. I live tweeted the very informative session and it was requested I turn the tweets into a blog post for easier referencing.
The session was broken out into four parts. Due to some of the questions asked at the Q&A, I’m going to add a fifth step. To keep the flow, I’m going to bullet point and expand on my original tweets to provide additional/expand on information.
To get an idea of time frame, FCBD is the first Saturday in May every year. (Note: LCS = Local Comic Store, FCBD = Free Comic Book day)
Before you begin

  • Because of time involved, you should set up a workflow to begin the prep for FCBD months in advance. As with many libraries, you should think about costs when doing your annual budget to plan for staff, marketing costs, and other auxiliary costs so the funds are already budgeted when you need them
    • How to get additional funds to support? Donations, donations, donations! (prizes, sponsor, volunteer)
  • You should plan on contacting artists, local groups, vendors, do a call for volunteers, and other related at least six months ahead of time. This is one of the busiest times of the year for the comics industry — it’s like the Christmas season for comic retailers
  • You should also ask in advance for sponsorships, donations, and etc from local vendors and merchants. Take advantage of donations for prizes, business volunteer programs for staffing, and more
  • You should plan programming leading up to and day off at this time, including passive and active programming and think about those associated costs / staff / volunteers
  • Promotion: Make sure to work out hashtags, get sites up, FB pages and events up and running before FCBD to do seamless promos
    • Social media: Make sure someone is constantly updating twitter/tumblr/facebook etc AND interacting before /during event.

 Contact Diamond

  •  You should contact Diamond (via the Free Comic Book Day day website) no later than early January. Diamond will supply you, for free, comic books, marketing and promo materials, templates, and ideas to do press releases and a whole lot more.
    • Diamond chooses the comics and the amount sent, based on library size
    • If you would like to choose your comics or have additional comics, you can pay a nominal fee ($.25 – $.50  per comic) and order via your local comic book store. This also needs to be done before mid-January
    • About 15-20 comic titles are available, ranging from popular to new to one offs. Great way to expand taste and get into new works
  • Diamond sends out promo and marketing materials like buttons, stickers, etc to about 500 libraries each year

Contact Local Comic Store

  • You should reach out to your LCS before early January, even better before
  • Why partner with LCS: The relationship works to exchange new patrons for the library, new readers/customers for LCS
  • In partnering with LCS, libraries could/should set up tables at LCS to sign up new patrons during the LCS events
  • Cross-promotion: This includes different FCBD selections, advertising each others activities, and then having a punch card to get stamped for lottery to win prizes

Plan out FCBD programming

  • Designate time and spaces for events
  • Last year as FCBD landed on May 4th, Kristin’s library partnered with Great Lakes Garrison, 501st Legion; Princess Leia and Darth Vader were on hand to do photo ops, signings, and more
  • There were artist alleys and panels on variety of topics
  • Passive programming included board gaming, color sheets from DC/Marvel (download and print for free), trivia around the library to earn extra stamps on punch card
  • Costume contests! Encourage people to cosplay. Prizes were donations from local retailers
  • Library partnered with other local retailers for sponsorship, volunteers, and prizes
    • Marketing 101: If you partner with anyone, make sure to put their logo on all materials!
  • Library also made sure branches were involved, such as doing Superhero Cinema at various locations, and there was trivia events throughout the month to earn more prizes
  • In addition to FCBD day of events, the library does a month long themed displays and programming leading up to FCBD
  •  Encouraging kids (and adults!) to create their own superhero, turn it into a poster, and public will vote on best one
  • Hold classes during the lead up and on the day of FCBD on drawing / comic book making / writing

Get Volunteers

  • How many volunteers do you need? Break out jobs happening, this includes game masters, manger of speakers, photos, handing out comics, updating social media, and more
  • Where to get volunteers: Teen advisory board, local businesses with volunteer programs, partner orgs will often send staff, friends/family
    • Also local student organizations, local like societies/groups (board gaming groups, anime groups, etc)
  • Remember volunteers are also fans! Relieve them so they can have fun. Encourage them to cosplay. Get group pics to feel valued and part of the event

Here are some of the questions asked after the presentation:
What if you are a school and cannot be open on Saturday?

  • You are allowed to use the materials from previous years FCBD to hold events and such before the current years FCBD.
  • Diamond requests that you DO NOT give out that years books prior to the day of FCBD.
  • If you do not have access to previous years materials, contact LCS to get some. Many (most!) will be happy to help.
  • You can also partner with LCS to hold events before and after the day to cross-promote.
    • Use this to cross-market so students/fans can enjoy FCBD at school/institution and on the day of

How to determine how many comic books to give out per person?
Last year Kristin’s library allocated 1 per person while her LCS was unlimited per person. This year, the library will plan for 2-3 per person.  How to determine how many? Plan on FCBD to be bigger than most of your other events, so for the first year you may want to go with lower number and then use that to base future years.
Spanish language FCB?
Not yet, but coming. there are challenges in getting spanish language books
What to do with extras/left over promos and materials?
Keep them to use as teasers/prizes for next year, donate to other libraries, schools, etc
What if you are an academic library, what can you do?
If you are open on Saturday, you can plan the same events and programming as you would for any other event types. If you’re not open on Saturday or do not have the space to do it, here are some ways you can also celebrate/promote by:

  • Partner with your local public library AND LCS to do cross-marketing for their events
  • Create displays around the library to promote FCBD
  • Create Pinterest boards to showcase your graphic novel collection
    • Also utilize social media
  • Volunteer at LCS and/or public library for FCBD
  • Work with departments to use graphic novels in their instruction, promote their teachings / class list

In addition to the above, for the last year or so I’ve been working on a project called Graphicdemia. Graphicdemia is “a resource for collecting, promoting, and circulating graphic novels at non-research institutions, special libraries, archives, and community colleges.” On the website, I’ve organized and vetted my blog posts, presentations, recommended books, and websites that are applicable to the type of libraries I just mentioned.
You will also find previous presentations by Kristin and I on comics in the library.

  • Contact Kristin
  • Slides from the presentation
  • Kristin’s posts from FCBD 2013
  • My tweets via Storify
  • Free Comic Book Day
  • Diamond Comics
  • Comic Shop Locator
  • Graphicdemia


Bagged & Boarded: Agent Gates and the Secret of Devonton Abbey

agentgates Agent Gates and the Secret Adventures of Devonton Abbey: A Parody of Downton Abbey |  2/5 stars
[Amazon | Worldcat | GoodReads | Comixology]
 tl;dr summary: A satiric romp through the underbelly of Dovonton Abbey, where the next heir is a dog, the under butler is working with a secret organization, and the Dowager Countess is the head of a secret intelligence agency, all while love, the philosopher’s stone,  and intrigue abound.
Review:  Just. No.
Yes, I get it. It’s a parody of a blockbuster TV show that everyone and their tithed second cousins have either watched or at least heard of. Even TheHusband, who has tends to yawn when other similar shows are on, watches DA for the drama and the occasional backstabbing.
AGENT GATES’s purpose, I suppose, is taking the best elements of Downton Abbey, a drawing room mystery, throws in a bit of James Bond action, and pulls the downstairs staff in as secret agents working for a royal secret intelligence unit.
But it fails. It fails on a lot of levels. The ability to capture the characters quirks from the TV show is in fits and starts. The art seems like it was rushed, some characters seem to to have more details attributed to them, others are given a few strokes of the pen to give their likeness. The dialogue is beyond over the top and doesn’t even attempt to catch the character’s personalities and attributes.
It felt like someone watched a few episodes of the first season, saw an opportunity to make a few bucks and had some spare time, and came up with this dribble.
There is a subtle art to parody and satire, and this graphic novel is miserable with attempt. Library loan? Sure. But to buy? Only if it is in the clearance bin.

This day in Lisa-Universe: 2012, 2003, 1999

Bagged & Boarded: Developing and Promoting Graphic Novel Collections


Bagged & Boarded: Developing and Promoting Graphic Novel Collections | 3.5/5
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, [Continue Reading]
Originally published at: Lisa @ EPbaB

Bagged & Boarded: Developing and Promoting Graphic Novel Collections

9781555704612_p0_v1_s260x420 Bagged & Boarded: Developing and Promoting Graphic Novel Collections | 3.5/5
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.

Introducing Graphicdemia: Collecting Comics and Graphic Novels in Academia

On March 2, I presented, along with two other colleagues, at the MSU Comics Forum on Golden Age: Comics and Graphic Novel Resources in Libraries. Our schtick, if you will, is to present the collection and outreach methods from three different types of libraries: academic, public, and special; and present specifically at a non-library conference.
In 1974, Will Eisner (yes, that Will Eisner) penned an article in School Library Journal entitled, Comic Books in the Library. For at least 40 years, libraries have been well aware of the importance of collecting comics and graphic novels. Librarians write and present on this topic to other librarians at librarian conferences and publications across the country all day, every day.
But what about interaction with the public, the communities we serve, comic stores, artists, etc? Do they know we’re doing this?
The answer is: Not so much.
My presenting colleagues and I recognized there is a disconnect between what librarians are doing and the community and artists we’re doing it for and this is where our presentation comes in. We’re also going to be doing similar presentations at C2E2 in April and Grand Con in September. The C2E2 presentation is going to be more of a how the collection is promoted and utilized, while the Grand Con presentation will be similar to MSU Comic Forum presentation or a hybrid of the two.
At the MSU Comics Forum, our Q&A after was pretty awesome and we got a lot of great questions. I felt really confident about our work and the audience seemed to really respond well to what we were saying. The confidence/passion of how we feel about our topic is evident, and we had a great rapport with each other to back up the other’s points. I’m excited about our future presentations.
Now, I began collecting graphic novels at GRCC for a couple of reasons. We literally only had a few titles, like Astonishing X-Men Vol 1 and Cartooning for fun and profit (circa 1945), but there was absolutely no cohesion to our collection (series titles were not continued, some of the books were older than dirt, and so forth). In addition, I was told someone local was going to donate a few boxes of graphic novels several years ago but they were all rejected by the librarians at the time as not being relevant to our curriculum. Even despite the fact someone was obviously buying titles since the library already a small growing collection in the stacks. So, no consistency or cohesion to the collection.
The other reasons I wanted to collect graphic novels was the value and diversity they bring to the collection, they would or could be supported across various curriculums and lastly, they could introduce students to new topics or be a bridge to a difficult topic.
I took my proposal to the librarians and my director, and they supported the idea of collecting graphic novels. I worked with our cataloger on how to best catalog our collection. By mid-spring 2012, I started collecting graphic novels and peripheral books.
When you hear librarians talk about collection development, they often mention the core collection. Typically this means titles that should be standard in your stacks, for whatever reason. To bring cohesion to the collection, I needed to find fairly recent core collection lists, websites, and books to start gathering titles as well as start tracking newly published titles to purchase.
This is when I started running into a number of problems.

  1. 90% (if not higher) of professional literature (print and online) on comics/graphic novels is geared for teen, tween, or younger
  2. General core collection books were outdated or the titles recommended would be out of print or geared towards teen and younger
  3. Suggested reading lists from various organizations (library and non-library based) would include out of print or age inappropriate or content inappropriate titles
  4. Review lists from in the profession literature or general newspapers and magazines, concentrate more on teen/youth over adult titles
  5. Academic institutions that carry comic / graphic novel collections either had their collections in special collections (typically non-circulating), focused on a specific type (golden age, silver age, etc), or  the emphasis was on research only
  6. Catalogs by publishers or book distributors concentrate on youth  over adult books. A recent spring catalog by a large distributor was 20+ pages on graphic novels, maybe 3 pages were geared for adult content.

First let me clarify, when I refer to something as being “adult,” I am not referring to something as being racy or pornographic. I am referring to materials that contain situations, language, or ideas appropriate for 18+.   It is generally accepted most weekly comics are rated as such, but per my list above, publishers, reviewers, and such concentrate on the under 18s. Which is maddening!
I am also get that adults will read content geared for the under 18s, which is fine. But my first goal is to support our curriculum so I have to be very specific on what I can and cannot buy. I can also afford to be picky as our local public library is one block away, whereas if it weren’t, my range would be much more diverse.
As I started researching and creating my core list, I was finding a lot of great sites that I thought would be of interest to my students, so I started a graphic novels subject guide. In order to get a better idea of what to put on my guide, I searched for other guides on graphic novels and became disheartened by what I found.

  1. Guides that were obviously templates and could be for any subject, with no relevant information on the specific topic (general database links, general how to pages, etc)
  2. Guides with dead links, broken embeds, out dated information or rarely updated
  3. Guides with mixed messages: Instructions on how to use databases, cite papers, find materials and then provide available books geared for instructors / researchers.
  4. Guides that did not provide additional information outside of their own resources, so no list of blogs, websites, societies, museums, etc for future investigation.

Many guides had one problem, but most had multiple. I imagined myself as a student gettings super frustrated if I was doing homework on the inability to find information.
This is what got me thinking about how graphic novels are perceived in academia, from a student’s point of view and a librarian’s point of view.  And to be honest, it’s a mess.
This is when I sussed out I had numerous goals I wanted to achieve when it came to graphic novels in academic libraries.

  • Present at non-library conferences how libraries of all shapes and sizes are collecting, promoting, and circulating graphic novels
  • Inline with collecting the collection, promote the heck out of it to my patrons and community
  • Keep the subject guide as divergent and current as possible for not only my students, but others as well
  • Start Graphicdemia, and keep it as current and robust as possible as a resources for librarians who are collecting at non-research institutions,  special libraries, adult services public librarians, or something else entirely
  • Perhaps write on this topic for publication

Currently I’m debating on what to put on Graphicdemia vs putting it on the subject guide, so currently my rationale is, “If it helps someone on the development and collection side, that goes on Graphicdemia. If it is of general interest, that goes on the subject guide.”
The response to this has been fantastic so far, and it’s interesting to see how many librarians are struggling with the same problem. This is what makes working at a community college so unique is we fall into that sphere between public and four year academic institutions  and we can pull from both on many things but others, we get lost in the shuffle.
I have a lot of work to do.

Mental Illness, Shame, and The Art of Asking

Dear Internet,
I have complicated relationship with Amanda Fucking Palmer.
While there are some things that I’m critical of in regards to AFP, I am incredibly mindful that a lot of conversations happening  now are because of her. Changes in how music is viewed/played; how relationships are shifting beween art, artists, and viewers; how we challenge not just our own perceptions  but perceptions of the world at large even just by living our lives as how we define our lives to be, not by another’s definition. In addition, she lives her life fearlessly, which is incredibly inspiring.
AFP was invited to speak at TED this year and below is her talk, The Art of Asking:
AFP’s salient points on discussing crowd sourcing, risk taking, or even challenging common public notions and beliefs. But at this talk’s core, as she states, is the relationship between the artist and the viewer. That very intimate relationship that is only owned between those two people.
Yesterday, I was part of a panel at MSU Comics Forum where we gave a presentation on Golden Age: Comics and Graphic Novel Resources in Libraries. Our schtick is to present on this topic at non-library conferences because we knew it was important for artists, writers, creators, educators, and comic book lovers to be aware of what/how libraries are doing with comics and graphic novels. Within the library world, it is a given. Outside the library world, not so much.
While prepping for my talk, I was debating on whether or not to mention I was bipolar and relate that to graphic novels available on the topic. If part of my argument is graphic novels should be in libraries is because they help broach difficult topics, is this not a difficult topic and ergo a perfect example? The other question that would be asked is what kind of obligation do I have in mentioning I am bipolar to anyone about anything? Why does the onus fall on me?
This debate went on in my head up until I took the podium.
When the slide came up I had earmarked to mention being bipolar, I found myself just saying it as naturally if you please:
“I’m bipolar. I’ve had several friends who’ve read Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me and say to me, ‘Okay. I understand what you’re going through. It was eye opening.’ And this is perfectly illustrates how graphic novels and comics can help broach difficult topics.”
Several heads in the audience nodded with agreement.
In the space of a few minutes, I had negotiated in my head the trust relationship between myself and the audience. I gave myself permission to be candid. The floor did not open up and swallow me nor did fire come reigning down the heavens.
While I was feeling manic up until that moment, and then the world shifted into focus. When my 15 minutes was done, I felt my body relax for the first time in weeks.
Before watching AFP’s talk last night, I had not realized the mental negotiations taking place in my head about having a mental illness were about exchanges in trust with whomever. Oh, not you Internet, but with those in contact of my daily life, who don’t follow me across the social sphere or read this blog. There is a price tag on honesty, and on revealing, one that was too high in the past to contemplate, and one that is constantly always under scrutinizing but is becoming easier to negotiate.
AFP rationalized it is not about taking a risk, rather it is trust. Shame comes in when those not part of the negotiation attempt to criticize it. I am currying trust with my readership by telling them about my crazy, but someone who doesn’t read my blog, or know me, starts to make judgements on the already established link between me and my readership, they are installing shame on the affair. Anything different is open to criticism and this needs to change.
My name is Lisa and I am bipolar.
It needs to be said, it has to be said, I will continue to say it.