If you’re new to comics and graphic novels, start here!

Here are articles and guides to get you started, especially in the library world.  Some of these are written by our Editor-in-Chief, Robin, or contributing staff, and some are from our excellent colleagues in the library and comics world.

Ask the Comics Librarians: Weeding Superhero Comics

Weeding can be a satisfying process, but there's no doubt weeding a consistently popular format like graphic novels can be a daunting task. Prompted by a reader question, we weigh in with our tips and tricks for the process. Our two contributors introduce themselves...
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Ask the Comics Librarians: Cataloging Series

One of the more frequent questions library workers have about building comics collections is the best way to catalog comics.  There are many questions that arise around cataloging, including the related issues around labeling collections. While many of us on the site...

Ask the Comics Librarians: Censorship & Challenges

Earlier this year, the American Library Association reported that they recorded 729 challenge reports to 1,597 books in 2021. Sadly, recent news suggests libraries and schools aren’t out of the woods. In this roundtable, members of our staff share advice and resources...

Ask the Comics Librarians: Small Spaces

One of the frequent questions we have all encountered in our professional work with comics and libraries is the question of how best to maintain a comics collection in a library where the physical space available is limited.  We all wish we had unlimited shelf space...

Ask the Comics Librarians: Manga FAQ

Manga collections provide some similar and different challenges for selectors.  To help anyone new to collecting manga (or who want to consider their collections again!), read on for our comics librarians tackling frequently asked questions about best practices for...

Ask the Comics Librarians: How do I label my collection?

One of the frequently asked questions librarians ask themselves in collecting comics boils down to: how do I classify my collection?  How do I make the organization and labeling clear, easy for both patrons and staff to find?  What can I do to work within the limits...

Ask the Comics Librarians: Is Fangirl Manga?

I have had two different library-centric discussions about what to do with the new release of Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell, adapted by Sam Maggs, and with art by Gabi Nam.  The title is published by VIZ, one of the most well-known manga publishers, and is part of their...

Comics 101: Professional Development

articles

Reading Lessons

Graphic Novels 101: Reading Lessons

by Hollis Rudiger
The Horn Book

Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table Logo

Best Practices for Cataloging Comics and Graphic Novels Using RDA and MARC21

Prepared by the GNCRT Metadata and Cataloging Committee

Reading Lessons

A Guide to Using Graphic Novels with Children and Teens

Updated by Robin Brenner
Scholastic
January 2015

Graphic Novels in the Classroom

by Gene Luen Yang
Heinemann

Webinars

The Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table offers an array of online webinars and resources. The GNCRT spotlights online comic reading and recommendations, resources and toolkits, and other #libcomix content virtually through #LibcomixOnline. These series of events and spotlighted resources feature live streamed webinars, recorded interviews and discussions with some of our favorite comic creators, stores, and libraries plus virtual brainstorming sessions.

The entire archive of webinars can be found here.

The most recent webinars are extremely timely and topical in addressing how to deal with challenges to comics in libraries.

Do you know where your library’s comics are? This webinar will equip attendees with guidelines for collecting and promoting graphic novels in libraries, including recommendations for various genres and ages and opportunities for programming. Whether you’re looking for another dozen Raina Telgemeier readalikes or you quit reading the funny papers once Garfield stood upright, there will be useful tools and practices for you.

What sets manga apart, and why will it fly off your shelves? This webinar will demystify how Japanese comics work and recommend plenty of titles for teens and younger readers, including opportunities for programming. Whether you already know your seinen from your shojo or aren’t sure how to pronounce manga, this session will prepare you to include them in your collections and event calendar.

The New York City School Librarians’ Association (NYCSLA) and the Graphic Novel and Comics in Libraries Round Table (GNCRT) have teamed up to host a series of webinars on manga in libraries.  Check out theit first video below, and visit mangainlibraries.com for more in the series.

With the continuing explosion in popularity of comics, graphic novels, and manga as sources of reading and entertainment for kids, titles like Dog Man, New Kid, Guts, Avatar, My Hero Academia, March, and They Called us Enemy are flying off shelves in bookstores and libraries. They’re also receiving critical acclaim and winning major awards—including the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, and Newbery Medal.

In this webinar moderated by LibraryPass’ John Shableski, our panel of distinguished educators and librarians—Karen Gavigan, Kat Kan, Esther Keller, Christina Taylor—discuss how the comics medium works and why it has become so popular, particularly amongst younger readers. They answered questions librarians and educators frequently have about comics, as well as those asked by parents who don’t believe comics count as “real” reading.

More Reviews and News

The Beat

Our go-to news source for comics and publishing news. Their quarterly lists of upcoming graphic novels and reviews are indispensible.

Diamond Bookshelf

Diamond Comics Bookshelf is a treasure trove of library staff authored resources, reviews, advice, and tips for maintaining comics and graphic novel collections in libraries.

Good Comics for Kids

Good Comics for Kids, a blog hosted at School Library Journal, is a daily blog featuring comics for young readers.  Their reviews, news, and discussions are always a great resource.

NYPL Manga and Comics Blog

New York Public Library’s blog has several excellent articles introducing manga and graphic novels, as well as copius book lists.

Graphic Library

Sara Smith covers graphic novels for school libraries at The Graphic Library.

Graphic Policy

 

Graphic Policy is especially useful for keeping up with what’s getting released, talking about comics universe events (like DC’s Rebirth and so on), and they cover all age groups of comics.

Anime Feminist

Anime Feminist mostly covers anime, but in the reviews they frequently cover manga as well. They’re great for highlighting great (and terrible) representation for women and LGTBQ characters.

Manga Bookshelf

For daily posts on manga, the Manga Bookshelf provide excellent manga reviews and discussions.

Manga in Libraries

 

Information and resources for manga readership, manga collection development, manga programming, and more!

Black Nerd Problems

Black Nerd Problems as a site and a social media destination hypes, reviews, and criticizes pop culture from a Black perspective.

Multiversity Comics

Multiversity Comics has extensive reviews that are always worth a look.

Women Write About Comics

An online journal that features a diverse group of intersectional, international feminists who provide equally diverse insight into the world of comic book culture.

Awards and Selection Lists

The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, considered the “Oscars” of the comic book industry, are handed out each year in a gala ceremony at Comic-Con International: San Diego. Named for renowned cartoonist Will Eisner (creator of “The Spirit” and pioneer of the graphic novels), the Awards are given out in more than two-dozen categories covering the best publications and creators of the previous year.

Since 2006, a librarian has served annually on the panel of judges for the Eisner Awards nominations, including current NFNT staff.  We highly recommend you check out the full list of nominations, not just the winners.

The Glyph Comics Awards recognizes the best in comics made by, for, and about people of color from the preceding calendar year. While it is not exclusive to Black creators, it does strive to honor those who have made the greatest contributions to the comics medium in terms of both critical and commercial impact.

The awards are named for the blog Glyphs: The Language of the Black Comics Community at Pop Culture Shock, started in 2005 by comics journalist Rich Watson as a means to provide news and commentary of comics with black themes, as well as tangential topics in the fields of black science-fiction/fantasy and animation.

The Harvey Awards are one of the comic industry’s oldest and most prestigious awards. Recognizing outstanding achievement in multiple categories, the Harvey’s have been a fixture of the comic industry since 1988. This year, the Harvey Awards returns to New York Comic Con – the largest pop culture gathering in the United States.

Spotlighting comic books, graphic novels, manga and more, the Harvey’s are industry awards selected by a full body of comic and publishing professionals.

The Harvey Awards are an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the best & brightest, helping new readers, current fans, booksellers, retailers and librarians distinguish the best comics of the year as voted on by their peers.

 

The Ignatz Award, named for the character in the classic comic strip Krazy Kat by George Herriman, is the festival prize of the Small Press Expo, that since 1997 has recognized outstanding achievement in comics and cartooning. The Ignatz recognizes exceptional work that challenges popular notions of what comics can achieve, both as an art form and as a means of personal expression.

Selection Lists From Libraries

From the American Library Association

Best Graphic Novels for Children

The Best Graphic Novels for Children Reading List seeks to highlight the best graphic novels for children ages 5-12 published in late 2020 and throughout 2021, increase awareness of the graphic novel medium, raise voices of diverse comics creators, and aid library staff in the development of graphic novel collections. The first list will be announced at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in January 2022. List selection will be determined by a committee of GNCRT members with a background in selection or use of graphic novels for children. and children’s services.

Great Graphic Novels for Teens

Great Graphic Novels for Teens is a list of recommended graphic novels and illustrated nonfiction for those ages 12-18, prepared yearly by YALSA.

Best Graphic Novels for Adults

The Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table (GNCRT) BGNA reading list highlights the best graphic novels for adults published in a given year and it aims increase awareness of the graphic novel medium, raise voices of diverse comics creators, and aid library staff in the development of graphic novel collections.

The products of the collaboration between the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), and the Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table of the American Library Association (GNCRT), these two groups together provided a series of updates on the original Black Lives Matter comics reading list with a focus on Black Literature. Black Lives Matter, Black Literature Matters.

The initial list of 50 comics titles for Juvenile, Teen (YA), and Adult audiences is centered on Black creators, Black stories, and Black histories for all ages.

Read the September 2020 list here.

Read the January 2022 list here.

In 2021, the group created a variety of supplemental reading lists focused on different genres and topics.

Read the Supplemental lists here.

The goal of this list is not to be a prescriptive spectrum of all the subject or format content out there in the landscape of Black stories or comics. Rather, this is a step, another step, towards building collections and conversations that spark hope, demand justice, address erasure, and agitate for learning – using both sides of our brains through words and pictures. Because when ‘Black lives are lost, Black stories are lost’ (Stacey Robinson).

 

From  State Library AssociationS

Maverick Awards

The Texas Maverick Graphic Novels Reading List (TMGNRL) is a recommended reading list developed by public and school librarians from the Young Adult Round Table (YART). The purpose of the list is to encourage students in grades 6-12 to explore a variety of current books. The TMGNRL list is intended for recreational reading, not to support a specific curriculum. Due to the diversity of this age range, Texas librarians should purchase titles on this list according to their individual collection policies.

Books

Understanding Comics

Understanding Comics

by Scott McCloud
William Morrow
1993

Graphic Novels

Maximizing the Impact of Comics in Your Library

by Jack Phoenix
Libraries Unlimited
2020

Understanding Manga and Anime

Understanding Manga & Anime

by Robin Brenner
Libraries Unlimited ABC-CLIO
2007

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