By Dan Galway – Ponoka Jubilee Library Manager
Over the next little while, we will be doing a little bit of collection development here at Ponoka Jubilee Library.
For librarians, this means evaluating aspects of our collection in terms of circulation, patron need/want and relevance while identifying deficits in terms of information provision. Although a public library cannot hold every item that every patron may want, it is important for us to take a holistic view of our collection viewed through the lens of patron satisfaction. As Bob Dylan said, “You can please some of the people all of the time or all of the people some of the time but you can’t please all the people all of the time.”
That said, we strive for our collection to meet the needs of our patrons and if we do not have the item you are looking for, we will move mountains to get it for you.
One of the deficits that has been identified in our provision of materials is our collection of Graphic Novels. They are an extremely popular form of entertainment/education in today’s literary universe. In fact, many are being taught in high school and university classes alongside such classics as Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Fahrenheit 911.
The first graphic novel (published in 1978) was a collection of short stories about a Jewish neighborhood in the Bronx by Will Eisner, titled The Contract with God. Although most were familiar with comic books at the time, the term “graphic novel” had not existed before this publication. Since then, graphic novels have earned their place in the literary canon with a number of “classic” titles that serve not only to convey their content in an interesting and pictorially descriptive way, but also to expand the limits of storytelling in a truly profound manner.
Here, I would like to share some of my favorite graphic novels that are currently available in our collection or coming soon to Ponoka Jubilee Library:
Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi) – Persepolis is an autobiographical graphic novel about growing up in Iran at the forefront of the Islamic Revolution. The point of view portrayed in this graphic novel is very poignant, as it follows the author through her childhood and through the relationships she develops through the course of her life.
Watchmen (Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, John Higgins) – This is a graphic novel with an abstract political bent; Moore poses the question to readers: ‘They’re watching out for us, who’s watching out for them?’ This book, through symbols and metaphor, discusses broad sociological theories regarding faith placed in those looking out for “our” best interests (i.e. politicians) and the dangers of eschewing personal responsibility for trust in “heroes.”
Scott Pilgrim Series (Bryan Lee O’Malley) – This series chronicles the complicated life of Scott Pilgrim, a 23 year old, struggling musician who is constantly between jobs. Enter Ramona and he is love struck and will do anything to court her, including defeating all of her evil ex-boyfriends. This series of graphic novels is great for tweens, teens and adults alike.
Black Hole (Charles Burns) – This graphic novel collects all issues of Charles Burns’ Black Hole, which details a plague that has descended on Seattle’s teenagers through sexual contact. This novel illustrates the cruelty of high school and the alienation that can be contained therein.
I would like to thank Servus Canada for their contribution of five hundred dollars to the Ponoka Jubilee Library. With these funds, we have purchased a number of new sets of headphones for our public access computers and will be using the remaining funds towards our graphic novel collection.
Coming up this month at the Ponoka Jubilee Library, we have our regular roster of programs and services. On April 7 and 8 we are hosting a book sale with the help of the Friends of the Library. Please come and support your library. Additionally, on April 22, we are hosting a “Sick Stuffy Clinic” with Dr. Avegail – kids can come to the library with their “sick” stuffed animal and Dr. Avegail will perform a check-up and prescribe the perfect book.