Comic Books at the Canton Library
The Haywood County Public Library system has always had a section of graphic novels and comic trades at each of their branches.
The Canton branch is special to me because Katy Punch, the librarian there, has truly gone out of her way to stock that section properly for not only younger comic readers but also adult comic geeks like myself. She has always listened to my suggestions on what comics order and even tracked down a Flash reader for my 2 year old, little girl (who loves the Flash as much as her dad does.)
If you're a parent, do not underestimate the power of comics to get children interested in reading and if you're an adult who no longer has the money to keep up the titles you loved as a child, the library is an awesome place to get access to the modern world of comics for free.
The Canton branch alone has numerous up to date trades for series like Nova the Human Rocket, Justice League Dark, The Flash, The Avengers, and even classic titles such as the Alien Legion Omnibus collections (for the more sophisticated comic fan).
I have donated more than a few comic trades to the Canton branch and would like to mention that if you're an adult comic collector, doing so is a very rewarding experience. That said, Katy was kind enough to take a few moments of her time and share a bit with us about comics and their place at the library.
Do you feel that getting children/young adults into comics can serve as a means of really getting them fired up about reading in general?
Katy: I know that one of the reasons that I loved to read as a child was because as I read I formed a movie in my head of what was happening. I could see the characters and enjoy the action that took place in a book. Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to form their own movies while they read and comics are a great place for reluctant readers to be able to see the action of the story and follow the plot. Comics are also great because the stories are told through images and few words. This really allows children to “read between the lines” and really think about everything that they see in the image and how it affects the story. This can also mean that the comic can change as you read it again and notice new details.
There are comic geeks of all ages. Can you tell us about some about the comic selection you offer at the Canton branch?
Katy: We currently have two graphic novel/comic collections. The juvenile collection is housed in the children’s room and contains comics and graphic novels that are appropriate for children ages 5-12. This collection features popular series such as Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales, Bone, Lunch Lady, and Babymouse. There are also graphic novel adaptations of popular children’s literature such as The Percy Jackson series. The Young Adult collection contains comics for ages 13+ and adults. This is where our main collection of Marvel and DC comics are housed as well as popular graphic novels like The Walking Dead and various manga series.
Comic books are often under appreciated as a form of American Literature. Would you agree?
Katy: I do agree. It takes so much observational skill and attention to detail to keep up with what is happening in comics since there are fewer words to spell out the plot to the reader. I was very happy to see that graphic novels were a genre that was included in the Common Core State Standards in fifth grade.
Do you have any programs planned for this Fall to get fired up about reading that you can tell us about?
Katy: Our Teen Advisory Group and Teen Bookclub meets the first Thursday of each month at 4:30. In the meetings we plan out teen events that we host throughout the year and hold a book discussion for a popular young adult book. . . Be on the lookout for exciting children, teen, and adult programs through our website and Facebook page.
Can you tell us a bit about what a librarian's job is like and what made you want to be one?
Katy: I went to college knowing that I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. I taught fifth grade and found that my favorite part of the day was when I could read aloud books to my students and listen to them tell about what they were reading and why they loved to read the books that they chose on their own. I loved visiting the school library to talk with the librarian about what the kids were reading and how she was instilling a love of reading in children that just couldn’t be done in the classroom with all the expectations that are placed on teachers at this time. It was through these talks that I realized I might be in the wrong profession. I jumped at the opportunity to move into the school library. From there I decided that the public library was the place I wanted to be and was able to take this wonderful job when it became available. As a youth services librarian, my day is based around story times and programs for school-age children and teens, reading book reviews and using patron input to order materials for the children’s and young adult collections, helping patrons find the books that they want in the library, suggesting new titles to patrons, helping children with homework during the school year, and so much more. Everyday in the library is different and exciting!
And lastly, what comics seem to be the most popular among young readers today?
Katy: For the younger readers the Lunch Lady series by Jarrett Krosoczka is very popular along with the Bone series by Jeff Smith and Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales. For older readers The Walking Dead series by Robert Kirkman is very popular along with the classic comic book characters from Marvel and DC such as X-Men, Captain America, Thor, Superman, and Batman.