The ALA’s Graphic Novels and Comics Roundtable is rolling out new initiatives geared toward serving and supporting librarians.
➤ Getting together
With live events coming back full steam, the GNCRT’s conventions committee is working on how to rebuild programming and networking at local and national comics fan events, says GRCNT president Robin Brenner, with the goal of giving local groups more tools to participate.
➤ Getting to Annual
The newly established GNCRT Comics Librarian Conference Travel Grant will allow two librarians who may not otherwise have funding to attend this year’s ALA annual meeting, which runs June 22–27 in Chicago. The grant was sponsored in 2023 by Image Comics and its imprint Skybound, but the goal is to turn it into a general donation fund and expand it to cover librarian attendance at many comics-focused events, such as the San Diego Comic-Con, according to GNCRT president-elect Shira Pilarski.
➤ Getting the data
GNCRT members have been tackling the thorny problem of how the Library of Congress uses metadata to categorize comics. Last
year the GNCRT’s Metadata and Cataloging Committee delivered a report calling for, among others things, the term manga to be added to the LoC’s Genre/Form Terms. There’s a “lack of consistency and uniformity around the way comics were collected,” says committee member Amie Wright. Better defined meta-
data will make comics more accessible and discoverable.
➤ Going international
The GNRCT is spreading. Australia’s equivalent of the ALA has established its own graphic novel focused organization, ALIA Graphic Novels and Comics.
➤ Going for gold
Establishing a comics award presented by libraries along the lines of the Newbery or the Alex Awards has been a longtime GNCRT goal. As exciting as the prospect is, librarians are characteristically deliberative planners. In 2022, an exploratory committee was launched. Pilarski highlighted that “one of the goals will be to reach out to other awards committees,” in order to determine “the best practices.” GNCRT will also debate what categories of awards to give out, and what titles would qualify. “Self-publishing, Kickstarter, web comics—there is so much to think about,” Pilarski says.