ALCTS presents a guide to graphic novels

For Immediate Release
Thu, 03/12/2020


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

ALA Publishing

American Library Association


CHICAGO — The circ stats say it all: graphic novels’ popularity among library users keeps growing, with more being published (and acquired by libraries) each year. The unique challenges of developing and managing a graphics novels collection have led the Association of Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) to craft “The Library’s Guide to Graphic Novels,” published by ALA Editions. Presented under the expert supervision of editor John Ballestro, who has worked with comics for more than 35 years, it examines the ever-changing ways that graphic novels are created, packaged, marketed, and released. This resource gathers a range of voices from the field to explore such topics as:

  • a cultural history of comics and graphic novels from their World War II origins to today, providing a solid grounding for newbies and fresh insights for all;
  • catching up on the Big Two’s reboots: Marvel’s 10 and DC’s 4;
  • five questions to ask when evaluating nonfiction graphic novels and 30 picks for a core collection;
  • key publishers and cartoonists to consider when adding international titles;
  • developing a collection that supports curriculum and faculty outreach to ensure wide usage, with catalogers’ tips for organizing your collection and improving discovery;
  • real-world examples of how libraries treat graphic novels, such as an in-depth profile of the development of the Penn Libraries' manga collection;
  • how to integrate the emerging field of graphic medicine into the collection; and
  • specialized resources like The Cartoonists of Color and Queer Cartoonists databases, the open access scholarly journal Comic Grid, and the No Flying, No Tights website.

Ballestro is the director of collection development and acquisitions services and the subject selector for graphic novels at Texas A&M University’s Sterling C. Evans Library. He is an avid comic book reader, likes Kirk over Picard, and his house words could be “Winter is Coming” but is more likely to be "Wednesday is new comics day!”

ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library professionals worldwide. ALA Editions | ALA Neal-Schuman publishes resources used worldwide by tens of thousands of library and information professionals to improve programs, build on best practices, develop leadership, and for personal professional development. ALA authors and developers are leaders in their fields, and their content is published in a growing range of print and electronic formats. Contact ALA Editions at (800) 545-2433 ext. 5052 or