Thursday, July 4, 2013

Privileges of being The Man

I don't often discuss my career as a university librarian except in my (quite) occasional series Across my desk, where I consider unusual books & blurbs from the library. I have made it known on the blog how I used to work for Marvel Comics and that I chose to terminate that second career a little more than a year ago.

Now that I'm no longer participating in the comic book industry, I wonder... am I in a better position to do it some good?

I don't mean just in terms of the Kickstarters I've been backing (although I have backed quite a few), but in how I can better use my knowledge of the comic book artform for the university.

Just recently, librarians became very interested in ordering additional graphic novels for our collection; I was glad to see it because our collection isn't terribly well-developed and the titles they had chosen were books of excellent standing. For instance, we pride ourselves on housing Canadian content, yet we didn't have a single work of Dave Sim's on the shelf (just a minor oversight); now we're getting a full set of Cerebus.

I don't normally step out of line, but I complimented the selector on the titles being purchased and offered a few suggestions; the next thing you know, every one of my suggestions was being added to the collection. So far I've used my influence to increase the amount of Canadian content in our graphic novels (it helps that I know a few Canadian creators personally) and some European talent; I have not, however, suggested anything from my former employer (thus, nothing I wrote).

Additionally, my knowledge of comic books landed me in a position to help organize our own comic art collection, which has been sadly neglected; because this collection emphasizes comic strips, I've been blessed with furthering my understanding of comic strip history; it led my purchase of Sam's Strip, amongst other collections.

I once worried I was part of the problem; I'm pretty sure I'm closer to being part of the solution now.

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