In the last five to ten years, libraries have upped their graphic novel game considerably. When I was a kid, I was lucky to find one to two Batman books and a volume of Hellboy in my (small-town Wisconsin) library’s graphic novel section. Now, libraries are my primary source of print comics – and they carry not just “mainstream” titles, but indie books, manga, and shelves upon shelves of kids’ comics.
Near the end of 2019, I reached out to the Fresno County Public Library‘s collections staff in hopes of learning how my current local library system chooses its graphic novels. I also wanted to know what books Fresno County is reading, as well as the state of graphic novel purchasing and borrowing over the last few years.
Librarian Thomas Wood, who selects Fresno County’s graphic novels and suspects his job “might actually be the best of all possible jobs,” was kind enough to answer all my questions and more. Below, Thomas will tell you where the Fresno County Library staff looks when selecting graphic novels, what books are hot in Fresno County right now, and why he’s optimistic about the state of both kids and adult comics.