Library baits young readers with illustrated novels

Getting teenagers and young adults to read and use public libraries is a challenge the library in Ocean Springs [Mississipi] is addressing with a $5,000 development grant from the Mississippi Library Commission.
The Ocean Springs Municipal Library, a part of the regional system, will use a collection of "Visual Readers: Illustrated Novels for Today's Youth" to draw in younger readers, according to Rex Bridges, public relations director for the system.

"The grant is for one library branch to increase their collection of these readers but all branches in the system will have access to these books," Bridges said.
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Mexico has done this for years.

Fotonovelas in Mexico are quite popular. They are not comic books, and they are not novels, they are a combination of the two.

It amazes me to see workmen and the apparently homeless, people you would not see reading in the States, reading these on the bus and on their free time. Newsagents sell lots of them and they are inexpensive.

The director of Mexico's library association, AMBAC (Asociación Mexicana de Bibliotecarios, Asociación Civil) Elsa Ramirez Leyva said in 1997 that Mexican libraries are promoting literacy and reading both in children and adults. This differs from the States in that while we promote literacy and reading, we also see the library as a place for information. Mexican's don't often see the library that way.

I think that the illustrated novels will promote reading and literacy, and due to our cultural norms, those students that read will also see the library as a place for information. Librarians can act like car salesmen, get them in with the graphic novels and then sell them a classic.

N.B. In Mexico the AMBAC is the association of librarians and not the association of libraries. I think there should be an American Librarian Association, as opposed to LIBRARY association.

Thanks very much, remember to tip your server. Try the fish.

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