Comics Alternative Special: A Roundtable Discussion on Libraries and Comics

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Browsing the Comics Stacks

Occasionally The Comics Alternative will feature a special episode devoted to a specific comics-related topic, and on this show, the Two Guys focus on issues surrounding libraries and comics. This subject matter is particularly appropriate, given the fact that Andy Wolverton is a public librarian working extensively with comics and graphic novels in Anne Arundel County, MD. So the guys decided to invite other librarian-educators on the podcast for a ComicsLibraryShelflively roundtable discussion on the topic. Joining them are Carol Tilley, an associate professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Robert G. Weiner, a humanities librarian at Texas Tech University. On this special episode they discuss a variety of issues surrounding comics and libraries, including labeling and categorization — e.g., Is the term “graphic novel” more advantageous for cataloging? — the challenge of hybridized texts, community outreach and comics, the interaction between the classrooms and libraries, explicit content and censorship, the issue of canon formation, librarians as comics curators, mainstream versus “alternative” comics acquisitions, and the role of librarians as comics educators. And this is just the tip of the discussion iceberg. As the discussants demonstrate, this is indeed a rich topic, and there are so many other facets that they didn’t have the time to touch upon. But what they do cover is truly thought-provoking, presenting ideas and posing questions that could easily lead to another such roundtable.

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Carol Tilley and Robert G. Weiner

Check out these books on comics, libraries, and education:


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The Comics Alternative is a podcast and blog focused on the world of alternative, independent, and primarily non-superhero comics.

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