790 – Week 3 – Comic Books in Library Literature

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Ever since I picked up my first copy, comic books have always given me a sense of joy and entertainment whenever I read them. No matter the age or time period this seemed to be the case for a lot of people. However not everyone felt this same sentiment as at one time many library and information professionals felt they were nothing more that disposable entertainment and a waste of time. I think a lot of this negative feedback reflected the time that comics were brought up in and how professionals had a higher standard for written material. “About Face: Comic Books in Library Literature” by Allen Ellis and Doug Highsmith does a perfect job in exploring this concept going through the relationship between comic books and library over the years.

I appreciated how a quick overview of the general history of comics from the 30s to the 90s was discussed before talking about the history between comics and libraries proper. It helps to provide some historical insight which benefits the reader so they know going in what to expect when different decades are brought up. The actual analysis was based on the Library Literature publication to see how comics were referenced by decade. I find it amazing how publications from the Library Literature in the beginning featured more negative than positive articles but then those roles reversed as time went one. This also applied to the number of articles published where there was a lot at the beginning then dwindling down as time went on.

It makes sense how in the 1940s comics were not looked upon fondly as people, mainly educators and librarians, saw them as nonsense. They exhausted every argument that could come up with about why comics were bad for the youth. The most perplexing ones were the comments made about the physical aspects of a comic from the kind of paper to the size of the text. Valid criticisms can made about almost any comic but then there’s nitpicking like this.

While there were still criticisms of the medium in the 1950s, it was not as important perhaps because there were a lot more concerns to worry about like the advent of television and McCarthyism. It seemed to me that by the 60s and 70s, comics were becoming more accepted by library professionals because of how it can stimulate reading. This carried on into the 80s where even school libraries were more open to comics. However critics were there to push against this idea as they thought that while new ideas should be considered, they should not always be accepted. I feel like their minds were changed once new developments in comics at this time took place like shifting demographics and the presence of graphic novels. Then by the 1990s, comics experienced high popularity by librarian professionals, quite different from how it was in the 40s.

Personally I do not believe that comics were a threat in any decade by any means. I think librarian professionals should take better care in reading material like this and find value in what it can teach readers that other books cannot before writing it off as unnecessary.


References

Ellis, A., & Highsmith, D. (2000). About Face: Comic Books in Library Literature. Serials Review, 26(2), 21-43. doi:10.1080/00987913.2000.10764580

 

 

 

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790 – Week 2 – Comics and Sequential Art

Will Eisner Comics and Sequential Art

Although I am an avid reader of comics I have to admit that I have never actually read anything by Will Eisner before. Despite that I am aware of his work on The Spirit and how his contributions to the comic book industry led to the award named in his honor. Knowing this I thought it would be interesting to hear his thoughts on the various elements that make up a comic. After reading a few chapters of Comics and Sequential Art: Principles and Practices from the Legendary Cartoonist, I found Eisner’s perspective on different comic book principles adding to graphic storytelling as a whole to be astounding.

The chapters I read focused on imagery and framing. For these elements to be understood completely Eisner requires that both the reader and the artist have life experience. This is because there has to be a connection for both parties as they recollect images stored in their minds for images to make sense.

Eisner provides the image of a person kneeling as way to communicate imagery which can have a different meaning based on dialogue and facial expressions. For instance, the story of a person with a happy expression kneeling is vastly different from that of a person with a worried expression kneeling. An image can further have different meaning through lighting adding an emotional atmosphere. Deriving the meaning out of an image can be applied to words as well as in the distant past letters evolved from images like these to express the same thought.

When some readers look at a panel (frame) all they see are boxes that contain all of the images and words or something that gets them from one sequence to another. Eisner argues that the frame itself plays a much bigger role than that. Panels can can contribute to the emotion, action, and atmosphere of what is on the page. Eisner provides numerous examples of this like a long panel to reinforce height, a character bursting out of the panel to build up the action, and even no panel at all to convey a sense of openness and peace. Elements like these are things most readers never put much thought into but Eisner does to emphasize how it all adds to graphic storytelling.


 

References:

Eisner, W. (2008). Comics and sequential art: principles and practices from the legendary cartoonist. New York: W.W. Norton.

 

 

790 – Comics in the Library – Introduction

 

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Hey Everyone! My name Patrick Risolo and I am currently on my second to last semester of Queens College. I currently work as a Librarian Trainee at the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library, mainly in the Youth Services department. Before getting this position I was a Library Page at this library for many years. I originally started out as an art student majoring in animation but after a series of interesting events after I graduated I kinda fell into Library Science and didn’t look back.

I’ve been in love with comics every since I was a little kid. I started out small by reading compilations of strips like the Peanuts, Garfield, and Dilbert eventually moving onto Manga which I still read today. In fact my favorite graphic novel series is One Piece where I currently own all 84 volumes (soon to be 85) available in the U.S. (whether or not that’s a problem I’ll let you decide!). I’ve read all kinds of American comics and the ones I tend to enjoy the most are The Walking Dead and fun crossovers like the Batman/TMNT comics. Thanks to New York Comic Con I always discover something new and interesting to read. I look forward to seeing both old and new faces where we talk about all the different kinds of graphic novels out there!

Week 13 – Comics for Children

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Bibliographic Information: Santat, Dan. Sidekicks. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2011. 224 pages. Tr. $12.99, 978-0-4392-9819-3

Reading/Grade Level: 2-6

Genre: Superhero fiction, pets, graphic novel

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Summary: According to the back cover of the book…

“Captain Amazing, hero of Metro City, is so busy catching criminals that he rarely has time for his pets at home. He doesn’t even notice when they develop superpowers of their own.

So when he announces that he needs a sidekick, his dog, hamster, and chameleon each decide to audition. But with each pet determined to win the sidekick position, the biggest battle in Metro City might just be at the Captain’s house.

Then archvillain Dr. Havoc returns to town, and suddenly the Captain’s in serious trouble. Can the warring pets put their squabbles a side? Or is it closed curtains for the Captain?

It’s sit, stay, and save the world in this romp of a graphic novel!”

Reviews: From Kirkus Reviews

“A veritable bonanza of capes, heroes and pets with superpowers abounds in illustrator Santat’s first solo graphic novel.

Captain Amazing, the muscled hero of Metro City, is aging, and after a botched takedown of four nefarious villains, he decides he is in need of a trusty sidekick. Unbeknownst to Captain, his own pets are clamoring for the job (and for more quality time with their beloved owner). Fluffy, his hamster, has yet to discover his superpower, but this rodent has a lot of heart. Manny the cat (who has the ability to electrocute bad guys) had run away after his beloved toy Nummers went missing, but the prodigal cat returns just in time to help the Captain. Roscoe (a.k.a. Metal Mutt) has a gruff exterior but is fiercely loyal. Shifty, the newest addition to the family, is a color-changing chameleon who adds a dose of comic relief. The lovable menagerie of crime-fighting pets offers lots of laughs and a boisterous and exuberant storyline; Santat’s illustrations are clear, engaging and neatly stacked into easy-to-read panels. While there is no mention of a sequel, subsequent volumes would certainly fly off the shelf faster than a speeding bullet, so here’s hoping.

A vibrant volume sure to zoom, pow and swoosh its way into the hands (and hearts) of young superhero fans. Extremely entertaining.”

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Awards:

  • 2014 Sequoyah Book  Awards (Oklahoma): Children’s Books
  • 2013 Surrey Schools’ Book of the Year Award (British Columbia)
  • YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers: Fiction 2012

Educational Connections: Public libraries could show how this book is “Clear, understandable, and consistent” which is important for new readers.

Read-alikes: 

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Why this comic will appeal to children up to grade 6:

I think children will enjoy this book because the idea of crime-fighting pets as the basis of a story to be exciting and funny. The main characters are very engaging as the more time you spend with them the more you understand why they all want to be heroes. The colorful illustrations bring out the action and humor of the story that will appear to any reader, especially the reluctant ones. It’s a shame there aren’t any sequels to this book because I could see ongoing adventures with these animals fighting crime with their owner.

 

Week 12 – Best Apps for Reference and Information Services

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I chose the article, “Best Apps for Reference and Information Services,” because it recommends various apps that can assist library personnel and how they can be accessed on digital devices. 25 apps were identified as being the most useful with each one representing a different category making some apps more ideal for a library setting than others. Also listed were the individual apps “cost, function, reviews, currency and usability.” The article goes on to mention how librarians have already incorporated app technology into library services. In some libraries digital devices like iPads and other tablet technology are made available for circulation with a wide variety of apps. Libraries can also provide resources like ebooks that can be accessed through an app like Kindle on the Apple or Android.

A good compliment for the suggestions made in this article comes from the site, “Digital Storytime.” Rather than make general suggestions of apps like the article did, this website recommends apps specifically for children and even includes reviews for the apps. These apps can be sorted based on date, quality, size, language, feature, age and price. In addition it shows which digital devices the apps can be downloaded on like the iPad, Android, and Nook.


References

Johnson, Jennifer Koenig. “Best Apps for Reference and Information Services.” Reference Reviews 29, no. 3 (2015): 2-11. http://queens.ezproxy.cuny.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.queens.ezproxy.cuny.edu:2048/docview/1683615817?accountid=13379

Kluver, M. (n.d.). Retrieved April 30, 2017, from http://digital-storytime.com

Week 11 – Diverse Collection for Young Patrons: Partner Post

It’s important to have a diverse collection to support young patrons so that they have access to a number of resources for learning and for pleasure. As librarians, we want to make sure that we have a collection that contains a variety of materials on a number of subjects from a number of perspectives so that patrons can come to an understanding of the information. Reading or listening to stories is how people make sense of the world. Stories are told in all cultures. “Stories help children understand how society perceives their culture as well as the cultures of their classmates, teachers, caregivers, and others, thereby influencing their social and identity development” (Naidoo, 2014).

According to the IFLA/UNESCO Multicultural Library Manifesto, there are principles that libraries should adopt when addressing diverse collections. One principle is to provide information in appropriate languages and another is to give access to a broad range of materials and services reflecting all communities and needs. A diverse library collection provides an excellent learning experience which is especially important for young patrons. The presence of a diverse collection in libraries can influence the way children view themselves and learn about the world. Collections that can accurately depict different cultures and languages provides a positive learning experience for a child allowing them to understand and appreciate the culture of others who are like them. If this kind of material is depicted in a negative or stereotypical way then children will think poorly of these cultures and themselves. If diverse collections don’t exist at all, then children will think that these cultures aren’t important enough to be included in libraries.

Particularly in the United States, and even more so in the “melting pot” that is New York, we need materials to appeal to a variety of cultures. We also need materials to support diverse languages. “Children use expressive media such as books to understand the world around them” (Naidoo, 2014). Children, and people in general, want to find and make connections. These connections cannot be made if the library’s collection only has books on particular subjects, or with certain characters, or written by certain authors.

The Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) only started keeping track of books written and/or illustrated by diverse authors in 1985. Unfortunately the number of African Americans, Latinos, Asian/Pacific, and Native Americans writing, illustrating, or appearing in books, is low. “What the low numbers for multicultural literature mean is that publishing for children and teens has a long way to go before reflecting the rich diversity of perspectives and experiences within and across race and culture” (Publishing Statistics). There is still a long way to go in the world of publishing to print more diverse books to be available on a large scale.


References

Anonymous. (2012). The Multicultural Library – a gateway to a cultural diverse society in dialogue. IFLA/UNESCO Multicultural Library Manifesto. Available at https://www.ifla.org/files/assets/library-services-to-multicultural-populations/publications/multicultural_library_manifesto-en.pdf

Naidoo, J. C. (2014). The importance of diversity in library programs and material collections for children. Association for Library Service to Children, American Library Association.
Publishing Statistics on Children’s Books about People of Color and First/Native Nations and by People of Color and First/Native Nations Authors and Illustrators. https://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/books/pcstats.asp

Week 11 – ‘And Tango Makes Three’ Book Review

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Parnell, Peter & Richardson, Justin. And Tango Makes Three. Illustrated by Henry Cole. Simon & Schuster, 2005. 32 pages. Tr. $9.99, 978-1-4814-4994-6

And Tango Makes Three is a picture book that is based on the true story of two male chinstrap penguins who live in New York’s Central Park Zoo. Roy and Silo are a couple who do everything together like walk, sing, swim, and even build a nest together. However unlike other penguin couples they were unable to have a baby of their own. The zookeeper steps in and gives them an egg that needed to be cared for to which both penguins happily accept. Both Silo and Roy take turns sitting on the egg until it hatches into a female chick that is named Tango because “it takes two to make a tango.” The story ends with an authors note summarizing the real life events this book is based on.

And Tango Makes Three has found it’s place on the Top Ten Most Challenged Book Lists by the American Library Association for a number of years. It occupied the number one spot in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010. It also occupied the number two spot in 2009, the number five spot in 2012, and the number three spot in 2014. This book has been challenged in states like Illinois, North Carolina, Virginia, Iowa, and California and attempts were made to censor the book. The reasons for this were claims that the book was anti-family, unsuited for particular age groups, and that it “promotes the homosexual agenda.”

Contrary to what some people may think, And Tango Makes Three is perfectly suitable for children ages 4 – 8 years old because it is a simple story with appealing illustrations and a great message. It’s perplexing to say that this book is anti-family because not all families are going to have a traditional unit with a mother and a father. Some families only have one parent while others may have no parents at all. And in the case of this book some families have parents that are of the same gender. This fact makes it a perfect read for children who can relate to having same-sex parents. The book doesn’t promote a homosexual agenda but instead uses the true story aspect as a teaching tool. Parents should be encouraged to share this book with their children as they need to learn at an early age to accept those who are different from themselves no matter who they love.