Ask an Agent: How Do You Organize Your Graphic Novels?

askanagent2You’ve got questions,  we’ve got answers! Our volunteer Agents are on the job! Here’s what they have to say this week….

Question: I’m restructuring our graphic novel collection, which currently sits in its own separate section from the rest of the collection. Right now, the collection is organized by author’s last name, but I am considering organizing them by title instead. My reasoning being we use two spine labels which often end up covering the author’s name (I don’t process my own books, so there’s no getting around that) and when I’m asked about a book it’s by title–if I ask who the author is I get blank stares!

My apprehension is that it’ll be harder to browse on particular artists’ work if their titles don’t alphabetize next to each other.

Just looking for advice or opinions. Thanks!

Elizabeth (Commerce Township Community Library) says:

Our manga is shelved alphabetically by series title and our graphic novels are shelved alphabetically by main character.  This works really well in my library.  For graphic novels that aren’t in a series, like Gene Luen Yang’s and Jillian Tamaki’s books, we shelve alphabetically by the author’s last name.

Jake (Boone County Public Library) says:

Graphic novels are interesting in that some people will want to read a particular author (Brian Michael Bendis) and some will want to read a particular series (Batman). Our library utilizes a kind of hybrid approach in that a series is kept together (Again; Batman), while a particular author may have all of their titles under their last name (Raina Telgemeier). Authors that work within series will be more difficult to browse for, but your catalog should allow you to have the author listed, which will help in searching for them. The vast majority of teens will be looking for a particular series (Bleach or Aftershool Charisma) that they will gobble up quickly, but it’s still nice for those that need a copy of Maus to have that organized under the author tag.


Jan (Moline Public Library) says:

We put our graphic novels primarily by author, except when there is a related collection by multiple authors. For example, Batman, Superman, X-Men, etc. are all under their collective title. (i.e. – “Y Graphic Bat” for everything Batman)


Jenni (South San Francisco Public Library) says:

I would still organize by author.  When kids ask for the location of a book title and I don’t know the author, I just look it up. Organizing by title will possibly confuse other patrons, as well as volunteers and pages who are used to shelving books by author.  When I am working at the reference or children’s desk at my library, I keep the library’s catalog open on one tab and Goodreads on another so I can always look up book titles/author names/series when I get asked for them.


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