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2002 News from Mecklenburg County

Nov. 4, 2002

New literary format added to public library collection

Charlotte, NC - The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg
County (PLCMC) will soon include a dynamic literary format that may be new to some readers: trade paperback books known as "graphic novels."

A graphic novel is a story told through illustrated frames (similar to a comic strip) and published as a book. It can have original story lines, and can be a stand-alone volume or bound as a collection of several individual books in a series. Many movies have been made from graphic novels - from the superhero film, "Spider-Man," to the critically acclaimed "Road to
Perdition," starring Tom Hanks.

"With the addition of graphic novels, we have an exciting format that is especially appealing to teens and young adults," said Melanie Huggins, PLCMC youth services director. "Teens gravitate toward the more visual media, like video games and computer programs, and we had them (teens) in mind when we developed this initial collection.

"But we know that this new format will appeal to adults. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus; A Survivor's Tale, for instance, deals with the Holocaust in a visually powerful and accessible way that appeals to older and younger readers."

Huggins added that graphic novels have proven to be "a powerful tool for reaching visual learners and enticing unmotivated readers to look at reading in a new light."

"We are striving for wide appeal, from graphic novels that deal with serious subjects, like the 9-11 series (a response to the events of Sept. 11, 2001) to action/adventure comics like Star Wars," she said.

PLCMC's collection of graphic novels will be located at the North County and South County regional libraries and available for check out in December. A "sneak peek" of the collection will take place at North County Regional Library on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 6:30-8:30 p.m. The event will also include a showing of "The Castle of Cagliostro," a film by Japanese filmmaker Hayao
Miyazaki. Registration is required by calling (704) 895-0318.

For more than a century, PLCMC has provided essential community service and outreach to the citizens of the Charlotte area. Today it is one of the premiere libraries in the country - named "Library of the Year" and "Library of the Future" in the 1990s - with 23 branches, 1.6 million volumes, 28,000
videos and DVDs and compact disks. The library also sponsors a variety of community-based programs - from computer- and Internet-education workshops to the award-winning Novello Festival of Reading, a celebration that accentuates the fun of reading and learning.

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