Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I've been cited...

Jaw on the ground. I have just been flicking through the most recent issue of Incite ("The news magazine of the Australian Library and Information Association" ) and there, in a little item about graphic novels, on page 9, I've been cited as if I'm someone!! It says "In the blogosphere, Real Public Librarian had at least one post in 2006 about graphic novels see [May 05 post]." Now this is very flattering, but also very embarrassing as, re-reading my post, it is (as are all my posts) very off the cuff and lacking in any sort of academic or statistical rigour (that's blogging for you). It has also made me feel guilty for not really keeping up with my blog of late - though I now admit I'm feeling more motivated to pick up the ball again!!

The article is entitled "As more graphic novels appear in US libraries, so do challenges", about parents who object to the presence of graphic novels aimed at young adults being attractive to children.

To some extent we have overcome this difficulty by wielding that very powerful library weapon that even bookshops envy us for - Cataloging! We catalog our graphic novels as: Junior - suitable for anyone, but particularly suitable attractive for children up to 12 years old. This would include, for instance, the Disney Witch series or Astro Boy. Then there's Young Adult graphic novels - sort of PG rated (parental guidance recommended for young people under the age of 15) - with mild violence and sexual references, and possibly (probably) strong language - this covers the bulk of our graphic novel collection. Then there are the Adult Only graphic novels - they contain explicit sexual or violent content that one would only expect an adult to be mature enough to handle. We have very few of these - and they're shelved in the adult fiction section, of course. So far we have had ZERO complaints - from anybody. (Although as a matter of interest, after much angst, we did in fact reject a title that our supplier sent us - it left nothing of the sexual act to the imagination including genital closeups and just for good measure threw in liberal amounts of sexual sadism - while there are many NOVELS with just as vivid descriptions of sex and sadomasochism in our collection (particularly in the science fiction/fantasy genre) the visuals of a graphic novel are infinitely more confronting - more unavoidable perhaps? Whereas you can STOP reading something that offends you. )

Graphic novels have been a great success at both our mainstream library and at our youth library. Despite the slight chance of objections, I think, if shelved in the appropriate place, and with public education about the genre, they are legitimate cultural resources in our public libraries.


  • The rating system makes a lot of sense. We've had some recent public feedback about some inappropriate content in graphic novels as well. The reason for the outcry, I suspect, is that images are a lot more powerful than words.

    By Blogger Ivan Chew, at 3:45 AM  

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