T3: Becoming a Comics Librarian and the Importance of Joining a Community of Practice

Banner image with photo of Christina Taylor and text, Tomorrow's Tall Tales With Christina Taylor

As a freshly-minted librarian, I was hired to serve at THE high school bearing my district’s name alongside an amazingly zany, veteran librarian who knew the current collection inside and out as she’d been the one to revitalize it with bond money just prior to my arrival. To say that I was intimidated about what I could possibly have to contribute is more than an understatement. So when the moment of truth arrived and I was handed a “small” purchase order to get my feet wet, I. Was. Stymied!

Her fingerprints were all throughout that collection, and what she didn’t read our assistant did. How would I ever fit into this team?! What could I possibly contribute?! To be honest… after teaching a core, tested subject for fifteen years, I was just beginning to read young adult literature regularly – rather than “the canon.”

Luckily, near the end of graduate school, I’d discovered comics. My then-language arts teacher heart fell in love with graphic storytelling, the ways that it attracts readers, and its potential to support literacy efforts. Unluckily, I didn’t know much about this format; however… I was the only member of the library staff who—at the time—even read them at all.

I’d found my calling; graphics would be my contribution. By the time I’d exhausted that “small” cache of funds, it was pretty clear to me that I’d need to develop myself in this area if I wanted to be a full partner on the library staff and better serve my community. Even luckier still, my new colleagues in the district pointed me toward the Texas Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List as a way of shoring up the skills I lacked and connecting with other like-minded library workers. And so, I applied to be a volunteer.

Whether you’re interested in project-based or career-spanning involvement, there are many vectors for professional networking and development as you become the hero in your own story of librarianship. The following list, albeit not exhaustive, can help you find your way. And although most of these organizations require an annual membership fee, there are untold FREE professional learning networks—formal or informal, big or small—that are eager for you to join:


For more information, visit our youth services page, contact Christina Taylor at ld@tsl.texas.gov, or call 512-463-5465.

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