Everything from classic good-versus-evil crime-fighting romps to philosophical meditations on human nature can be found in the ever-changing comic and graphic novel section of the Corvallis Public Library. Those checking out and then enjoying a bit of the collection have one superhero in particular to thank: librarian Bonnie Brzozowski.
“Mostly I’m looking for newer stuff that’s either very popular or well-reviewed,” said Brzozowski.
Years ago the collection had a definitive tilt toward the well-reviewed end of that spectrum. Not so many Superman anthologies, and more one-off indie titles. Those graphic novels with critical acclaim, while well worth a read, just weren’t circulating as well as the more recognizable titles. So, performing the careful balancing act of catering to the community and also offering up carefully curated selections that might not typically get sought out, Brzozowski began putting more mainstream titles on the shelves.
“I’m always cycling in new things and cycling out the ones that aren’t getting as many check-outs,” she said. In other words, some old standards of the graphic novel world don’t get to stick around forever. Once a title sits on the shelf for too long, it’s likely to get replaced.
If after checking out a few titles you find yourself eager to devour more than the library currently has to offer, there are a few choice places to look for recommendations.
“I spend a lot of time on Bookriot, looking for stuff. And No Flying No Tights is a really great website,” said Brzozowski.
That second website, www.noflyingnotights.com, is also a great resource for educators looking to incorporate graphic novels into the classroom. As comics don’t typically come with age ratings the way movies or video games do, it can be hard to know exactly what is appropriate before you buy. If you’re purchasing these publications for younger audiences, the reviews from educators and librarians can be especially helpful in that regard.
Thanks to its healthy size, constant updates, and thoughtful curation, the comic and graphic novel collection has caught the attention of many Corvallis residents.
“When you break down how popular each of our individual collections are, it’s always one of the highest circulating,” said Brzozowski. “It’s a really fun job.”
To keep the collection ever expanding, and to make sure the best, freshest titles get put on the shelves, all you have to do is go check one out. It’s easy, it’s free, and you can count on finding something fun or otherwise amusing. Just remember to drop a big old thank you to librarian Brzozowski for keeping the good stuff in stock.
By Kyle Bunnell