Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Gleeson Library the Purveyor of Cool?
The graphic novel is by no means new but it has found new serge in popularity that is taking many people by surprise. Currently, Gleeson Library of the University of San Francisco has an exhibit that runs through the month of February celebrating the graphic novel.
The impetus behind the exhibit was to not only to honor the genre but for the librarians to have a better understanding of what young people are reading today. Kathy Woo Head of Acquisitions and director of the exhibit got the idea for the exhibit visiting local bookstores. Woo said, “I was noticing all the kids lined up at the bookstores in the graphic novel section…its really a generational thing.”
Woo discussed this new trend with her fellow librarians and found many of them interested in the genre as well. The Dean of the library just happened to be a collector of graphic novels. Woo looked at the University’s own collection of graphic novels and found that it was decent. “I was surprised at what we did have, but we really want to build the collection,” said Woo.
One of the most exciting features of the exhibit is the suggestion box. Students and faculty are encouraged to suggest graphic novels that aren’t currently in the collection. Woo said, “the main purpose of the exhibit was to have the suggestion box.” As of last week there were several dozen suggestions for new graphic novels.
I have only read one graphic novel in my life, Art Spiegelman’s Maus, which I thoroughly enjoyed. So I was excited to have another graphic novel experience. I checked out Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha Vol.1 the first of six volumes. This novel is a fascinating take on the life of the Buddha and Tezuka weaves historical fact with fictional characters of his own.
I loved it; I read the nearly 400-page book in one sitting. I immediately went on to the library’s website
http://www.usfca.edu/library to see if the rest of the series was available. To my dismay, they were not in the collection. My disappointment did not last long as I remembered the suggestion box. I ran to the library and gave them my two cents.