What I’ve Been Reading


Graphic Novels for Children and Young Adults Cover
The Truth Is A Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman – a cross between an illustrated novel and a graphic novel.  Fantastical and thought provoking.

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel – a graphic novel or “tragicomic” that is Bechdel’s personal memoir about her relationship with her late father.  I’m about a quarter of the way through so far and enjoying it.

Graphic Novels for Children and Young Adults – I bought this to read for my ETL402 assignment and am really enjoying learning about graphic novels, as I’ve only just recently read my first graphic novel (as I posted about here).


Book-Web Crossover

Last week I read about Victorian libraries staying open late as an alternative to lonely people playing poker machines.  This week, as I was reading Questioning Library Neutrality, I came across some information that made me think of this initiative.  Public libraries were established in North America, in good part because the ruling class wanted to discourage the working class from idleness and drinking in “public houses” aka pubs (Iverson, 2008).  I do think that opening libraries late could be an effective strategy to prevent lonely people from gambling their savings away, but in light of the historical information I’ve read, I wonder how this will be viewed in the future.


Alissa McCulloch is a self-proclaimed cataloging evangelist.  In truth, everything I know about cataloging was either taught to me by Alissa, by discussions Alissa chaired or at least participated in, or books she’s recommended.  So when she writes about cataloging, I listen.  I’ve been involved in a lot of reading about cataloguing and why Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) are, in short, broken.  This week, she blogged through her own trauma of the cataloging headings for “self-harm” listing “parasuicide” as the preferred option.  LCSH are visible to EVERYONE searching for this, and it is a term that is overly medicalised, I’m reliably informed is traumatic to those who have practiced self-harm, likely to be traumatic for caregivers of those who self-harm.

Library catalogue entries showing LCSH for self harm books

On a related topic, I also read about how young adult fiction helps teenagers understand their own mental health and the mental health of those around them, highlighting the need for literature that tackles tough issues.

There was also an article about how explicitly teaching students how to read graphic novels engaged the class in deep thinking and excited previously reluctant students.

In reference to the article I posted earlier, a discussion between Neil Gaiman and Kazuo Ishiguro about the artificial boundaries that genre creates, I think there are some links between this and Tim Minchin’s song, The Fence.  In particular this part of the chorus:

We divide the world to stop us feeling frightened
Into wrong and into right and
Into black and into white and
Into real men and fairies
Into parrots and canaries
Yeah we want the world binary, binary

One of my fellow students, pointed me towards this article on graphic novels. It’s an interesting read although I don’t know that I can use it for my assignment as it is largely focused on literacy, which is not the scope of this assignment, however it’s pointed me in the direction of some other interesting articles that I can possibly use (which is called bibliographic branching).

The Great Australian Silence reflects on the fifty years since historians were challenged by WEH Stanner about their collective forgetfulness about the history of the Aboriginal people, both before and after colonisation.

LBCD? What is it? examines Library Based Community Development which is an adaptation of the social work theory of Asset Based Community Development, a new an innovative way to look at how libraries can serve their communities.

Storgykids posted an interview with Chris Riddell, UK Children’s Laureate from 2015-2017.  Riddell is an award winning author and illustrator and his thoughts are fascinating.

2018 Australian Children’s Laureate Morris Glietzman has spoken about the power of stories.


Iverson, S. (2008) Librarianship and Resistance. In Lewis, A. (Ed) Questioning library neutrality: Essays from Progressive Librarian. Duluth, Minnesota: Library Juice Press.

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