Want to get more manga added to your local library's collection but don't know how to ask? Librarian and author Robin Brenner shares 6 simple ways to help nudge your local librarian to get hip to the manga tip, and get more of what you want to read added to your library's shelves.
Talk to the right person - Don't just run up to a random librarian and say, "Hey! You guys really need to get manga!" To help us out, you'll need to be sure you're talking to the best person and that you've got some specific suggestions.
Ask if there's someone in charge of collecting graphic novels, comics, or manga. You'll likely be directed to contact one person, either in person or over email. If there is no one specific, ask who you should speak to about suggesting titles.
Provide essential information for ordering the books - If you bring in a list, make sure it's got all the information the librarian needs to find the series. Make sure you at least have the title and the author.
If you're feeling extra awesome, you could include the publisher and ISBN (International Standard Book Number) of the first volume.
Make sure it's all spelled correctly (remember, many librarians won't know Japanese names or sounds, so they may mishear it if you tell it to them.)
Check that the titles you want aren't already available at your library - If you've got a list of titles you want your library to get, make sure it look all those titles up in your local library catalog to make sure they don't already have them.
Remember, popular series are often not on the shelf (someone's reading them!) so you may not see the title even if your library owns it. You don't want to walk in with a recommended title list and then realize that your list is not actually useful.
See if your library is still ordering the series you like - Make sure to check that even if a library owns a title that they have the full series. Many libraries start a series but then may not finish it if it's not wildly popular.
If they don't, suggest they complete the series. Your word as a user of the library will carry a lot of weight. Tell them it's a bit like buying only the first DVD of a television series season. You need the rest of the set's DVDs to have the story make any sense.
Don't overwhelm with too many choices - Pick a top ten, or top twenty titles to start. Take this recommendation list and star your favorites that you think the library should get (and give them props for the titles they already have.)
We librarians wish we could get everything our readers ask for, but with budgets shrinking, we can't get everything. Think about what are really must-have series, and suggest those.
Need some ideas? Check out this list of 50 Essential Manga for Libraries.
Speak up if you love manga - If you don't have a list but do want your library to get more manga, tell your librarians. Let them know how much you enjoy manga, how many titles you read, and that you'd be happy to help them build a collection.
Librarians need to hear (sometimes more than once) that their local readers want manga. So keep telling them. It also doesn't hurt to go to the higher up folks: the library director, or the Board of Trustees, or the Friends of the Library — all of these people need to hear about how much you'd like manga too.
Bonus Tip: Donate manga to your local library - Want to share the love? Donate manga that you no longer want to keep to your local library. Even if they don't add it to their shelves, they can sell it to other patrons at their book sale and raise money to buy... more manga! Yay!
What You Need
- List of your 10-20 favorite manga with titles, author and ISBN numbers.
- Access to your library's website, to see what they have (and don't have)
- Your library card - you do have one, don't you?
- Your reasons why you love to read manga