A Survey of Graphic Novel Collection and Use in American Public Libraries
Objective – The objective of this study was to survey American public libraries about their collection and use of graphic novels and compare their use to similar data collected about video games.
Methods – Public libraries were identified and contacted electronically for participation through an open US government database of public library systems. The libraries contacted were asked to participate voluntarily.
Results – The results indicated that both graphic novels and video games have become a common part of library collections, and both media can have high levels of impact on circulation. Results indicated that while almost all libraries surveyed had some graphic novels in their collections, those serving larger populations were much more likely to use graphic novels in patron outreach. Similarly, video game collection was also more commonly found in libraries serving larger populations. Results also showed that young readers were the primary users of graphic novels.
Conclusion – Responses provided a clear indicator that graphic novels are a near-ubiquitous part of public libraries today. The results on readership bolster the concept of graphic novels as a gateway to adult literacy. The results also highlight differences between larger and smaller libraries in terms of resource allocations towards new media. The patron demographics associated with comics show that library cooperation could be a potential marketing tool for comic book companies.
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