With San Diego still abuzz with excitement from the July Comic-Con International, La Jolla’s Riford Library will soon be home to a collection of graphic novels that will be “second to none,” says branch manager Shaun Briley. Thanks to a grant from the Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation, the library will soon house hundreds of graphic novels and purchase 10 laptops for after-school use.
Joking that graphic novels are like a “gateway drug” for unenthusiastic readers, Briley said they are “increasingly recognized by educators, academics and the general public as an access point for reluctant readers into other print forms.”
Similar to comic books only in that they use art panels to help tell a story, graphic novels feature one story per book, and include more text than a comic book (but less than conventional literature).
Briley added, “Our graphic novel library is not just a collection of some popular novels in this format. It is literally a library within a library in that the titles run the gamut from the socially important to classics to best sellers. We have graphic novel renderings of philosophy such as Bertrand Russell, history such as Barefoot Gen (which is the story of Hiroshima), to the natural sciences (such as Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’) as well as classic literature like ‘Sense and Sensibility’ and Kafka’s ‘Metamorphosis.’ There are also all the graphic novels you would expect such as popular titles like ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ and the Pulitzer Prize-nominated ‘Maus.’ ”
Because of its breadth of topic coverage and the fact that the collection will have over 600 titles, the graphic novel library will be first of its kind. “We are not aware of any other library that has done this. From our perspective the collection is designed to build a bridge between non-readers and the library and the act of reading … in a form that they find digestible and fun,” Briley said.
The graphic novels will be available exclusively to La Jolla patrons, similar to the express book collection. They will not be visible in the greater San Diego Public library catalogue and potential patrons cannot put a hold on them, they must come in to the branch to physically pick them up, and check them out for a limited time. Those interested can sign up for a library card at 7555 Draper Ave.
The novels have already been ordered, and are en route to the Riford Branch.
A second prong to the 2016 Scripps grant, the library will also purchase new laptops for after-school homework help, which can be used to access classroom websites, school emails, virtual assignments, academic databases and word processing programs.
In December 2015, La Jolla Library launched a “Homework Help/Do Your Homework at the Library” program, but currently, it only has four desktop computers available to students in the Youth Area of the facility. The acquisition of the new laptops would bring the Riford branch in line with what is available at other libraries, and meet a growing need.
Only available to those with a juvenile library card, Briley explained several other branch libraries have laptops to assist with homework, but many were publicly funded. “Our area test scores and report card scores are too high to qualify for public funding, so we applied for this grant,” he said. “We are trying to keep up with these other branches and provide what is being provided at other libraries.”