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Five Reasons You Need To Check Out Graphic Novels At Your Local Library

Libraries are underrated. For all they offer comics readers, they’re rarely a part of the wider comics conversation. Read on to discover why, if you’ve been reluctant to check out graphic novels from your local library, you are probably a jerk who needs to turn your life around with the love of a good comic.

5. Every Day Is Free Comic Book Day. Okay, aside from the $0.42 you may or may not have contributed through taxes last year, most public libraries offer a lot for very little. Provided your public library stocks graphic novels or trade paperbacks, there’s no good reason not to give their collection a shot. Seriously. The economy sucks and the single-issue comic is getting so expensive, it’s practically on its way to becoming a designer drug. With sales giving way to things like food and rent, a decent chunk of fans say they’re spending less on comics than they have in the past. If you’re one of those people, you don’t have to miss out — most library systems offer access to more comics than you think. Even smaller libraries with limited collections will take pains to order materials from other library systems if it means returning the sparkle to your cold, dead eyes. If you’re too proud to admit otherwise, keep reading for more guilt.4. Comics Will Force You To Actually Enter The Library. You might think you’re a library user, but the fact is, stealing Wi-Fi from the parking lot to torrent episodes of “Fringe” on your lunch break isn’t the worthiest use of the institution’s resources. When you enter a public library to scope their graphic novel collection, your icy heart may thaw in the presence of books, movies and magazines you’d forgotten how to love. If you’re without home Internet access, you can even grab a chair and scroll through your favorite Web comics in one stop. You may even see a flyer for an upcoming library event that tickles your fancy. Did you know a lot of comic book creators give presentations in libraries? You will soon!

3. Bring Back That Lovin’ Feeling. Are you a former comic reader who gave up the habit during a botched secret crisis? Were you forced to drop the weekly expense while between jobs? Either way, comics miss you and they want you back. If you’ve been out of the game for a while, for whatever reason, libraries offer one of the easiest ways to catch up on your favorite titles. Not everything will be on the shelf right away, but most librarians work hard to keep up with the trade magazines touting the latest and greatest graphic novels. Once you’re up to speed, you might even decide to start dropping dollars on comics again. Even if you don’t, you’re still reading comics, which is all most creators are after anyway.

2. Variety Is The Spice Of Spice. You know you want to expand your horizons. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t have 14 comic news sites on your RSS feed. But $25 is a lot to shell out for that controversial indie book that only ships in hardcover — no matter how much the critics who got free copies said they liked it. Well, as reason number five so aptly put it, these things are free. Try them out – all of them. Find out what kids are reading. See what those crafty overseas creators have been up to for the past 70 years. Join the wider sequential art conversation! Do the Scott McCloud! If you dig what you’ve read, you’ll find yourself doing something crazy like waiting half an hour in line at a convention for your new favorite creator’s signature on their new controversial indie book. And you’ll be happy about it.

1. Circulation Begets Circulation Which Begets A Healthier Industry. It’s simple. The more graphic novels are checked out, the more willing librarians will be to expand their collections. Librarians are observant folks. They track their collections like feral beasts on the hunt. When you check out a graphic novel, they know they did their job and they are grateful. How grateful? So grateful they’re willing to stretch their ever-imperiled budgets to acquire more of what their community craves. More graphic novels mean more new people can enjoy the medium. It’s a cycle of sunshine. Libraries buy from a variety of sources too, including local retailers. That means publishers are selling more, which helps ensure a continued revenue stream for creators. Doesn’t that beat downloading pirated scans online?

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