Of Nightingales and Supermen: How Youth Services Librarians Responded to Comics Between the Years 1938 and 1955

Of Nightingales and Supermen: How Youth Services Librarians Responded to Comics Between the Years 1938 and 1955

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In 1937, librarian Frances Clarke Sayers used Hans Christian Anderson's story of the emperor and the nightingale to rally youth services librarians to return to their fundamental belief in the power of imaginative literature to bring delight, epiphanies, and catharsis to young readers. Youth services librarianship, a profession whose work centered on selecting and recommending books to young people in school and public libraries, was an established profession. Yet, in 1938, the profession found itself struggling against an upstart medium: comic books. Comic books were the dominant cultural force in the lives of young people from 1938---the first appearance of Superman---through 1955, when the comics industry bowed to intense public scrutiny and adopted a restrictive editorial code governing its publications. The profession's ambivalence toward comics---despite their popularity among young readers and in the absence of compelling research that the medium harmed its readers---hampered its ability to contribute meaningfully to any dialogue about children's reading that took place outside the profession's boundaries. Although the profession liberalized its views on young people's relationship with books in other ways during these years, its insular attitude contributed to the longevity of the profession's belief in what it viewed as the true nightingale: those materials selected by librarians, not children.Franka#39;s flnal sentence in this article encapsulated her viewpoint that comics need not be feared: a€œComics-reading can constitute ... expressed no objection to newspaper comic strips; however, less than forty percent had no objections to comic books. ... 47Ad Frank, aquot;Some Questions and Answers for Teachers and Parents, aquot; p.


Title:Of Nightingales and Supermen: How Youth Services Librarians Responded to Comics Between the Years 1938 and 1955
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Publisher:ProQuest - 2007
ISBN-13:

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