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Graphic Novels. Stephanie Kay Cosgrove Collection Development ISTC 615. Providing a balanced collection that is easily located and properly prepared will help the school library media specialist create new readers and provide reading material that students will truly enjoy. Robyn Young (2007).

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Graphic novels l.jpg

Graphic Novels

Stephanie Kay Cosgrove

Collection Development

ISTC 615


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Providing a balanced collection that is easily located and properly prepared will help the school library media specialist create new readers and provide reading material that students will truly enjoy.

Robyn Young (2007)


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Graphic Novels are NOT comics! properly prepared will help the school library media specialist create new readers and provide reading material that students will truly enjoy.

“Graphic Novel” usually refers to one of these three formats:

  • A stand alone story with graphics

  • Trade paperback collection of series

  • Anthologies of related topics or stories


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The difference properly prepared will help the school library media specialist create new readers and provide reading material that students will truly enjoy.

Comic Books

Graphic Novels

  • usually collections of unrelated stories

  • same character may show up in every story

  • the storylines usually have their own plot

  • almost always shorter than graphic novels

  • function as a format with primarily entertainment value

  • graphic novels usually tell only one story, or several shorter related stories

  • usually longer than comics

  • represent a format, rather than a genre

  • graphic novels can be about any topic

  • graphic novels can stand alone as stories -- the graphics simply work to add to the story


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Graphic Novels properly prepared will help the school library media specialist create new readers and provide reading material that students will truly enjoy.

  • Graphic novel is not a genre

  • Graphic novel is a format

  • horror, fantasy, adventure, romance, humor, real-life stories

  • anything done as a book with narrative text can also be done as a graphic novel


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The Facts: properly prepared will help the school library media specialist create new readers and provide reading material that students will truly enjoy.

  • many younger students are visual learners

  • it is very difficult for them to visualize while reading like most adults do

  • graphic novels can get the visual image that is needed when reading

  • students with low reading levels or reluctant readers will pick up graphic novels and not other books

  • contrary to popular belief, not all graphic novels have a low reading level


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Fiction and Non-Fiction properly prepared will help the school library media specialist create new readers and provide reading material that students will truly enjoy.


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The problem: properly prepared will help the school library media specialist create new readers and provide reading material that students will truly enjoy.

  • some teachers, parents, and even media specialists wonder if they're even appropriate for young readers

  • dark story lines

  • some claim that reading graphic novels isn't much of a challenge for a child

  • gender bias


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Steps to add graphic novels to your collection properly prepared will help the school library media specialist create new readers and provide reading material that students will truly enjoy.

  • SURVEY. Survey your students and ask them about their favorite: superheroes, movies, cartoon characters, and genres.

  • BUDGET. Determine your budget needs and keep track of statistics and circulation.

  • RECONNAISSANCE. Many publishers have designated special links on their websites just for librarians and teachers, which give information and titles.

  • PROMOTION. Create a showcase display of the new graphic novels.


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CAUTION... Not all graphic novels are appropriate for the school library media center

  • create a school advisory group

  • have intelligent students assist the school library media specialist in critiquing graphic novels

  • written plan of selection criteria

  • inform parents and administrators what is allowed and not allowed on the shelves


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For graphic novel collection development school library media centerSteve Raiteri recommends

  • Graphic Novels: A Bibliographic Guide to Book-Length Comics, by D. Aviva Rothschild (ISBN 1563080869, 1995, $30, 245 p.)

  • The 101 Best Graphic Novels, by Stephen Weiner (1561632856, 2001, $16.95, 96 p.)


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It is our job as the school library media specialist to make life long readers. It is not our job to be censors.


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References: life long readers. It is not our job to be censors.

Kan, K. (2003). Getting graphic at the school library. Library Media Connection, Retrieved April 21, 2007, from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?vid=4&hid=118&sid=c5b658f1-7d39-4447-9704-5a07588b38f1%40sessionmgr109

Lyga, A. (2004). Baby step your way to add graphic novels to your collection. Retrieved April 24, 2007, from Graphic Novels Web site: http://www.graphicnovels.brodart.com/ baby_steps.html

Lyga, A. (2006). Graphic novels for (really) young readers: Owly, buzzboy, pinky and stinky. who are these guys? and why aren't they ever on the shelf? School Library Journal, 52, 56-62. Retrieved April 21, 2007 from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?vid=6&hid=118&sid=c5b658f1-7d39-4447-9704-5a07588b38f1%40sessionmgr109


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References: life long readers. It is not our job to be censors.

Newhouse, R. & Spisak , A. What are graphic novels? Why read them?. Retrieved April 22, 2007, from Graphic Novels Web site: http://leep.lis.uiuc.edu/seworkspace/aspisak/Home.htm

Raiteri, S. (2002). Collection development. Retrieved April 24, 2007, from Teen Read Week Web site: http://www.ala.org/ ala/yalsa/teenreading/trw/trw2002/collectiondevelopment.htm

Young, R (2007). Graphically speaking: The importance of graphic novels in a school library collection. Library Media Connection, Retrieved April 20, 2007, from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdf?vid=5&hid=118&sid=08a0ade9-7363-4302-852f-7d82d373fe41%40sessionmgr109

(2007). Library Media Online Database. Retrieved April 21, 2007, from Anne Arudel County Public Schools Web site: www.aacps.org