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Library will use grant to enhance graphic novel collection

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – For the 18th year in a row, the Bethel College Library successfully applied for funds from the State of Kansas Interlibrary Loan Development Program (ILDP) to expand and improve its holdings.

The library received $2,500 for FY 2009, which it requested “for purchasing graphic novels, along with criticism and pedagogical materials on the format,” said Gail Niles Stucky, co-director of libraries at Bethel.

There were four parts to the impetus for this proposal, Stucky said. First, last January Ami Regier, Bethel professor of English, offered a new course, Studies in Graphic Novels, that proved to be highly popular.

The course filled almost as quickly as it was offered, and Regier reported that students immediately sent her seven annotated bibliographies of books they would like to study – the first time she had ever received that kind of reception to a course announcement.

“Second,” Stucky continued, “the small collection of graphic novels we own are heavily used, and third, patrons have expressed considerable enthusiasm for building a quality collection of graphic novels aimed at adults and older teens. Fourth, examination of the Kansas Library Catalog indicates Kansas holdings for quality adult graphic novels are surprisingly sparse.”

The Bethel College Library “has a small but growing graphic novel collection in our children’s literature section,” said Stucky. “The English department has used its library allocation to purchase seminal graphic novels, but the collection is inadequate to fully support … student demand. While the library [currently] owns only a small collection of graphic novels, they are consistently and heavily used. Clearly there is community demand for more graphic novels, and a good core collection of titles will greatly improve client service.”

Stucky noted that Bethel library staff have identified “at least 15 titles to add to the Kansas ‘Audiobooks, Music & More’ collection – titles not currently in the Kansas Virtual Library that would represent a significant addition to ‘Kansas collections: virtual graphic novels.’”

The Bethel library will also use its ILDP funds “to purchase graphic novels that will both enhance curriculum and leisure reading,” Stucky said.

Interlibrary loan is a statewide cooperative service that allows people to borrow materials from libraries across the state. To qualify for an Interlibrary Loan Development Program grant, applicants agree to make materials for their collections available through interlibrary loan. Proposals are funded on the basis of their potential to improve the quality and breadth of resources available statewide. Grant recipients are also required to contribute a percentage of new materials purchased with grant money to the statewide virtual library.

The Bethel College Library’s ILDP award for FY 2009 will be its last, since Kansas has now discontinued the program.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the only Kansas private college to be ranked in Forbes.com’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2009 and one of only two Kansas colleges listed in Colleges of Distinction 2008-09. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at www.bethelks.edu.

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