Maximizing the Impact of Comics in Your Library

Graphic Novels, Manga, and More

by Jack Phoenix


Learn how to better manage your comics collection to boost interest and circulation.

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March 2020

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 230
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Acquisitions and Collection Management/General
  Children's and Young Adult Collection Management/Literature, Lists and Special Collections
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This unique guide offers fresh insights on how graphic novels and comics differ from traditional books and require different treatment in the library—from purchasing, shelving, and cataloging to readers' advisory services, programs, and curriculum.

Challenging librarians to rethink some of their traditional practices, Maximizing the Impact of Comics in Your Library provides creative and proven solutions for libraries of all types that want to get comics into the hands of fans and promote readership. The author describes how libraries would benefit from an in-house classification system and organization that accounts for both publishers and series.

In addition, acquiring comics can often be tricky due to renumbering of series, reboots, shifting creative teams, and more—this book shows you how to work around those obstacles. Shelving and displays that reflect comic readers' browsing habits, creative programs that boost circulation of comics and graphic novels, and how comics can play a vital role in educational institutions are also covered.


    • Addresses common challenges librarians face with comics and graphic novels collections, and shows how to surmount them
    • Offers a solutions-focused approach
    • Describes how comics can be used to better engage your community and to educate youth
    • Fills a gap in the professional literature, covering topics not touched upon in the existing literature
    • Serves as a vital resource for public, academic, and school libraries
Author Info

Jack Phoenix is assistant manager of the Willowick Public Library, a branch of the Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library in Ohio; and former adult programming coordinator at London Public Library in Ohio. He has worked in or with public libraries for more than a decade in various capacities. An active member of American Library Association, the Ohio Library Council, the Comics Studies Society, and the Horror Writers Association, he has presented at professional conferences on topics such as the subject of this book. He is also author of The Tormentors.



"Jack Phoenix's Maximizing the Impact of Comics in your Library is a must-read for both newcomers and longtime collectors of comics in libraries. Phoenix succinctly reviews the history of comic books and recounts their sometimes controversial history in libraries before moving on to the practical considerations of building a library comics collection. Phoenix provides best practices and suggestions for selecting and acquiring comics, cataloging and shelving them to maximize discoverability, planning comics-themed programming, and integrating comics into the school and academic curriculum. As a longtime reader of comics who also manages a growing comics collection, I found Phoenix's book to be entertaining, insightful, and essential." —Joel Tonyan, Assistant Professor, Kraemer Family Library, University of Colorado Colorado Springs

"If you work at a library and are interested in comics, either as a newcomer or a true-believing fan, this book is your Rosetta Stone. In a friendly, methodical way, Phoenix guides us step-by-step across the entire multiverse of comics —what they are, who makes them, and, most importantly, how best to get them to the patrons who want them—even if they don't know it yet. Like every good teacher, Phoenix knows that there are no bad questions, so he simply answers all of them. With spotlights and insightful asides from an impressive number of comics celebrities, artists, librarians, and professionals, the book gives a real behind-the-scenes view of how the magic of comics of all stripes and sizes can especially flourish in libraries. Most importantly, Phoenix's discussion crests above the usual 'should we or shouldn't we' argument to offer real practical advice through success stories (and some failures) to show how to best reach readers where their interests lie. Phoenix's book offers a remarkable new taxonomy of the medium for seasoned fans, but is also an easy-to-follow primer for those who are new to comics, covering everything from basic questions to tips on how best to catalog comics so that people can find them. Phoenix even tells you how to host your own comics convention! Written more as a fascinating conversation over a cup of coffee than an academic treatise, Maximizing the Impact of Comics in Your Library is a must-have toolkit for librarians interested in strengthening their use of this massively popular medium. In the end, Phoenix's argument is impossible to dismiss, no matter what your level of geekdom: 'If you want to maximize comics in your library, it's important to understand them.' Highly recommended."—Brad Ricca, Author of Super Boys and Mrs. Sherlock Holmes

Other Titles of Interest

Graphic Novels cover imageRethinking Collection Development and Management cover imageOut of This World Library Programs cover image
The Complete Guide to Acquisitions Management, 2nd Edition cover imageCrash Course in Collection Development, 2nd Edition cover imageMostly Manga cover image

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