The Graphic Librarian

Reflections on librarianship, comics, and health


I am Matthew Noe – a librarian. What does that mean exactly? Don’t librarians just sit around all day, shushing people, reading books, and being miserable to anyone that interrupts their daily routine? Did you feel the sarcasm there – because that’s a trait of most librarians in real life, outside of the disturbing portrayal we often receive in book and film.

What it means to be a librarian is as varied as any profession can possibly be. Some of us are public librarians, working to ensure that our communities have access to both informational and recreational materials, regardless of social standing. Others are academics, working to both provide support to educators and students in higher education, while pursuing their own research agendas in highly interdisciplinary ways. Then there are the archivists…

Me? I’m a medical – or health sciences – librarian. My primary responsibility is to the community of medical students, practicing physicians, and researchers that make up the University of Massachusetts Medical School – providing them with access to information, reference services, and training on topics ranging from evidence-based medicine to EndNote.*

Like many academics, I also have my own research agenda that relates to my work in medical librarianship – graphic medicine. This research interest is the primary driver for this blog, as it will serve as a place to collect and share news, research, and book (reviews) relating to the use of comics in healthcare – an area that remains relatively untouched by librarianship. My hope in collecting this information is that other librarians will be inspired and build collections, create resources, and engage their communities with comics in medicine!


*There is, of course, much more to librarianship than these quick blurbs – particularly if you acknowledging the inherent political nature of librarianship.