Some background…

I am one of two new library fellows at the University of Massachusetts Medical School Lamar Soutter Library (LSL). My position is essentially the medical librarian equivalent of a medical residency in that I have my degree and the theoretical knowledge that entails, but am now being trained on the practical application of that knowledge. The fellowship is designed to last a full two years, with a curriculum that highlights the Medical Library Association’s Core Competencies, but also allow for each fellow to specialize and grow within their own areas of interests. This, for me, means working on projects that grow the awareness and practice of graphic medicine – both in the context of librarianship and in medical education. I will expand more on what graphic medicine means to me in future posts, but for more information, check out the graphic medicine website.

With that said…

Over the first couple of months here at LSL, I have been lucky enough to be given the opportunity to begin a new collection of graphic medicine titles. This opportunity has been beneficial in several ways, both for me and the library.  I benefited from experiencing the process of collection development – from selection, to acquisitions, to cataloging, and beyond – and from getting to refine my knowledge of what materials were out there and how they fit into the medical school environment. The library benefited, at the bare minimum, from the building of a new collection that brings attention and excitement into the atmosphere – something we can always use more of, particularly in trying economic times. Some examples of the social media promotion of the collection:

The collection…

The new collection contains, at the time of this posting, 29 books – which can be found most easily by viewing the LSL Graphic Medicine list I’ve put together on WorldCat. The selected titles are meant to cover as broad a scope of the field as possible, given that at present, it is unclear how many new titles will be purchased and that it is important, I feel, to give a clear picture to our users of what is “out there”. Some areas that need serious consideration going forward are whether shorter works, such as Samuel Williams At War With Yourself, or the dozens of Medikidz books that are meant for a younger audience. There are good reasons to have both on hand, but given limited resources, a decision will have to be made about whether these or more longer form graphic novels would best suit our patrons.

In preparation for any opportunity to add more to the collection – and to aid other librarians! – I have created two lists in WorldCat in order to keep track of comics that fit the bill of graphic medicine. Graphic Medicine, collects English language titles, while Graphic Medicine (Non-English), collects, obviously, non-English language titles. The English language list is nearing what I believe is the limit of 250 titles for WorldCat lists – if that should happen, I will have to adjust the list (likely splitting it alphabetically) – and will update this post as well.

If you have any suggestions, want to collaborate on a new project, or if you just want to chat about comics, please reach out! You can most easily find me on Twitter, but feel free to comment here as well. And if you’re in the Worcester area, make sure you stop by and check out the collection!