Sunday, June 15, 2014

Awful library book?

Recently, one of the staff brought me the book When the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs. She noted that it had been featured on the web site Awful Library Books.

Don't get me wrong, generally, I think that Awful Library Books is a good source to remind librarians of some of the items which may be hidden in our collections which we should no longer keep. The tag line of  "Hoarding is not collection development" is an important concept. In many libraries, weeding has never been a priority...including those in which I have worked.

I brought the book home to read. Here is the posting on Awful Library Books: There are many insightful comments, and not all think that the book deserved to be featured on the web site.

As I read the book (and before reading the web review), I thought of what I have always considered the first graphic novel: Maus. Wind was published in 1982 -- although it seems older than that. Certainly, the attitudes expressed about mutually assured destruction seem much more like those I remember of a decade or more earlier. It may be that this (Wind) is really the first graphic novel.

I did some quick research about Maus. (Wikipedia has a nice summary.) While Maus was first started with a strip in the early 70s, it was not fully serialized until starting in 1980. The first graphic novel, the collection of the first six chapters, was published in 1986 -- four years after Wind.

What to do? I think that this work will stay in our collection, even after the Awful Library Books selection. Generally we use that as a guideline for weeding (and have even submitted items which have been selected). This is an important work, and is unlikely to be retained in other public libraries in this state.

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