Manga in the Library: PN 6790 .J34


Our library is especially interested in collecting manga because, as an art school, a large portion of the students at our school are visual learners. Also the manga version of a story can often be read much quicker than the full text version allowing our students to absorb the information with less of a time commitment.

We use LOC numbers so most of our manga collection (all except the non-fiction which are shelved in the proper subject areas) begins with PN6790 .J34 “Language and Literature àGeneral Literature àcomic books, strips, etc. à Japan

This leads to the PN 6790 .J34 section taking up about 75 linear feet of our shelving which makes a nightmare for our shelving assistants!

As our collection has grown we have had to adapt our usual process of assigning call numbers to meet new challenges. While normally, if required, we add a second Cutter number based on the authors name then the year of publication we found this to cause problems with our manga collection because one author might be writing several series simultaneously which would result in them being inter-shelved or a series might be written by different manga-ka over the years it is published causing the series to be spread out over a large area and not all shelved together. For this reason we chose to use the title of the series (or monograph) as the basis for the second Cutter number. We follow that second Cutter by the volume number because there are often numerous volumes published in a given year. On occasion the titles have been so similar as to require us to add a third Cutter number based on the authors name as well to avoid having two books with identical call numbers. This leads to some very long call numbers! We have been considering shelving our manga in a separate section of the library so that we could drop the PN 6790 .J34 from the local call numbers and use a local call number that begins with the word “Manga” followed by numbers representing the title.

long call

Another logistical issue we are facing with our collection is some of our students who are very familiar with manga expect to see them shelved from right to left the way they would be in Japan. However, this does not seem to cause more than a moment of confusion and all the libraries I have seen with browsing collections of manga have them shelved left to right as would be fitting with the rest of their collections. I think that if we do move them to their own section we might try to organize them right to left but I feel this may cause problems for our shelvers.


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