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From Panels to Shelves: The Evolving Intersection of Comics And Italian Libraries. History, Issues, Perspectives

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Article number4
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>8/01/2024
<mark>Journal</mark>SANE journal: Sequential Art Narrative in Education
Issue number8
Number of pages36
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Despite comics' popularity and cultural significance in Italy, its integration into Italian libraries has been slow, problematic, and uneven. This is reflected in the scarcity of academic research on the topic, which demands further in-depth exploration.

In the context of Italian libraries, characterized by chronic underfunding and staffing shortages, comics might be perceived as a low priority. However, as essential cultural institutions, libraries must strive to reflect both the contemporary era and the evolving reading habits of their audience. Comics, in this regard, could prove to be – and in part already are – a critical resource, a 'booster' for libraries.

This article aims to provide a broad and introductory framework for understanding the relationship between comics and libraries in Italy. It will specifically examine the challenges and opportunities associated with this incomplete integration, addressing specific issues such as cataloging, displaying, managing, and promoting comics collections.

The first section will explore the historical context of the troubled relationship between Italian libraries and comics, in line with crucial international studies.

Following this historical contextualization, the second part will examine the challenges faced by Italian librarians in creating and managing comics collections, including the enduring perception of comics as a medium primarily for children.

The research employs a multifaceted approach, combining bibliographic analysis, an anonymous survey, and data from a conference co-organized by the researcher. This research examines the Italian library system's fragmented approach to comics. It aims to understand librarians' perceptions of the medium and how they integrate comics into their collections. It offers insights to enhance the dynamic relationship between comics and libraries in an evolving society.