Saturday, June 2, 2007

Hobotaku Budget Tip #2: Get a Library Card

If you don't have a lot of time to hang out at the bookstore (or if they've officially begin giving you the evil eye) then a prime way of getting more manga into your daily diet is to get a library card.

Most libraries have been stocking up on their manga and graphic novels, as the American Library Association (ALA) has made a lot of effort to appeal to younger readers. The ALA has also created comic lists on age-appropriateness, so young children won't accidentally get Hellsing or Batman: The Killing Joke. On the other hand, this does introduce the difficulty of finding the manga in the library, as manga could be found in three to five different sections.

The library sections for manga/comics (and representative comics):
- Juvenile Graphic Novels - Babymouse, Owly, Yotsuba, Spiral-Bound
- Young Adult Graphic Novels - regular Batman, Ranma 1/2, Elfquest, Inuyasha
- Graphic Novel Section (usually near the sci-fi section) - Bleach, Ceres, Sin City
- Call Number 741.5 - Dilbert, Mutts, Far Side, Calvin & Hobbes

Several libraries have displays of their manga centrally located for the summer months, as children become frequent visitors. Keep an eye out for these.

A few rules for picking up manga at the library:
  • Bring a List -
    In case you haven't noticed, I'm a big fan of making lists, especially of awesome books I want to read (and their author/artist). This makes it easier to look up the books if you can't easily find them on the shelves - and if they don't have them, then you can request an interlibrary loan if another local library does (speak to a librarian or visit the library's website to learn more)

  • Glutton yourself scrupolously -
    If you see an entire run of a manga that you want to read (such as Deathnote 1 - 12) then make plans to return the manga as quickly as you can to the library as you finish the books. In most libraries, as long as you return your books on time, there is no limit to the number of books you can check out, so get them all!

  • Request books -
    If they have volumes 1 and 4 of Ranma 1/2, then don't feel bad requesting 2 and 3 (I did this earlier this week). Most libraries let you request books as you check out books, or have specific computers or forms for requesting books.

  • Keep your eyes open -
    Even though librarians discourage people re-shelving books themselves, sometimes there are books (i.e. manga) shoved in all over the place on the shelves - be sure to give the shelves a once over if there's a missing volume you're looking for.

As always, be courteous - don't fight with a kid when you both put your hand on that last Bleach vol. 5 - let them have it. If they check it out, you can just request it. Now you can have a great summer full of free books!


Alison said...

Good call!

Also: I have known many librarians and 99.9% of them have been effing awesome human beings. They are usually more than happy to help if you can't find something on your own.

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