Articles to Help You in Your Library

Cataloging Graphic Novels

by Harry Gaylord

The Library of Congress' practice of cataloging graphic novels with a nonfiction designation of 741.5 continues to be debated in some circles of the school library community. Here at Bound To Stay Bound (BTSB), the majority of our graphic novels that are not based on sharing actual facts are classified this way but there are several that are classified as Fiction.

What constitutes the difference in classification? Graphic novels cataloged as Fiction by LC are usually an adaptation of a regular text-based novel. It's possible that the catalogers at LC think the graphic novel adaptation should be near the text-based version of the novel on the library shelf. A second scenario of cataloging them as Fiction would be if the graphic novel were a hybrid—having both a comics layout on some pages, while having plain text with illustrations on other pages—as is the case with the "Captain Underpants" series.

However, at the end of the day, no one who catalogs is obligated to follow what LC does if they feel their patrons would be better served having a graphic novel cataloged as something other than 741.5 or Fiction. We here at BTSB reserve that right if we feel led to do so. We would like to hear feedback from you on this issue and have included a link below to a brief survey. Our survey only covers graphic novels that do not convey factual information. Please take our survey at the following link by June 5, 2008 at 5:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time:

Bound To Stay Bound Graphic Novels Survey