Teenagers Reading

research for my PhD thesis

You can call me Doc

with 2 comments

Ubby's Underdogs Launch Invitation I’m reading Ubby’s Underdogs: The Legend of the Phoenix Dragon by Brenton E. McKenna, Australia’s first Indigenous graphic novel. I’m looking forward to blogging about it when I finish. Magabala Books is launching this exciting tale of adventure and mystery on Friday week, 20 May in Broome. If you’re in the area join the fun at Sun Pictures – click on Ubby’s Invite to see the details.

And now for why you can call me Doc…

‘All of his [Poe’s] books were burned in the Great Fire. That’s thirty years ago – 2006.’
‘Ah’ said Mr Bigelow wisely, ‘One of those!’
‘Yes, one of those, Bigelow. He and Lovecraft and Hawthorn and Ambrose Bierce and all the tales of terror and fantasy and horror and, for that matter, tales of the future were burned. Heartlessly. They passed a law. Oh, it started very small. In 1999 it was a grain of sand. It began by controlling books of cartoons and then detective books and, of course, films, one way or another, one group or another, political bias, religious prejudice, union pressures; there was always a minority afraid of something, and a great majority afraid of the dark, afraid of the future, afraid of the past, afraid of the present, afraid of themselves and shadows of themselves’

Ray Bradbury (1950) The Martian Chronicles

Luckily for us, Ray Bradbury’s future didn’t eventuate. Now that we’re inundated with comics and graphic novels, I wrote a thesis on them (and it swallowed way too many years of my life). Cos my baby Graphic novels: Enticing teenagers into the library is out in the world, googleable for all, you can read it. I don’t recommend you read it all, just dip into the bits that take your fancy. There is a table of contents, but sadly no index.

This is a nice short summary:

This thesis investigated the information habits of teenagers, including their recreational reading and internet use, and means of encouraging library use among teenagers, particularly through graphic novel collections in public and school libraries in Australia. A mixed methods approach was used which included focus groups with teenagers, a survey of public libraries, and interviews with public and teacher librarians.

This is a longer (boring) Abstract:

This thesis investigates the inclusion of graphic novels in library collections and whether the format encourages teenagers to use libraries and read in their free time. Graphic novels are bound paperback or hardcover works in comic-book form and cover the full range of fiction genres, manga (Japanese comics), and also nonfiction. Teenagers are believed to read less in their free time than their younger counterparts. The importance of recreational reading necessitates methods to encourage teenagers to enjoy reading and undertake the pastime. Graphic novels have been discussed as a popular format among teenagers. As with reading, library use among teenagers declines as they age from childhood. The combination of graphic novel collections in school and public libraries may be a solution to both these dilemmas.

Teenagers’ views were explored through focus groups to determine their attitudes toward reading, libraries and their use of libraries; their opinions on reading for school, including reading for English classes and gathering information for school assignments; and their liking for different reading materials, including graphic novels. Opinions on school reading can impact feelings on reading in general and thus influence views and amount of recreational reading.

A survey of public libraries determined the incidence of graphic novel collections throughout Australia and how collections are managed, with the intention of comparing libraries from different states and territories and metropolitan or rural areas. Interviews with selected librarians who collected graphic novels provided insight into their attitudes to the place of graphic novels in public and high school libraries and a more detailed picture of how the format is managed. This included use of graphic novel by the libraries’ teenage users or students and problems encountered, such as complaints about specific titles.

Graphic novel collections are widespread among surveyed Australian libraries, although a metropolitan location led to a greater likelihood of collection of graphic novels, and librarians were passionate about the format and its popularity among teenagers. The teenagers investigated were not as universally positive about graphic novels or libraries. The necessity of inclusion of all formats of reading matter in library collections will enable teenagers to discover for themselves what provides enjoyable reading experiences, so these become the norm, and lead to a greater enthusiasm for reading and more undertaken in their free time.

This is the Bone brothers talking bout why comics b good (they are in my thesis):

Bone by Jeff Smith

BONE® is ©2011 Jeff Smith

And this is my thesis Graphic novels: Enticing teenagers into the library. The link is to the record for my thesis on espace@Curtin Curtin University’s Research Repository. To download my thesis you have to find the teeny tiny PDF icon and click. Ooh a 2M file, nice. At least the link is at the top of the page, but could they make it less conspicuous!?

Now that you’ve downloaded that way too big file, please don’t think about printing the whole 280 pages. For starters there’s a pile of spacer blank pages at the beginning cos I double-sided it for the hardcopies (yes I had to print numerous copies, kill numerous trees). If you happened to print it all, I would have to send the forest fairy to empty your ink/toner cartridge, repeatedly.

The forest fairy and I would prefer you use the table of contents to decided what you are interested in, then print those parts, but only if you double-side or use 2nd hand paper with printing mistakes on the back. I’m glad we understand each other :P Sadly for ease of moving around the PDF, I used a crap pdf converter and my beautiful headings, figures, etc. are not included as bookmarks in the PDF (stupid computer). On the day(s) I finalized my thesis there were many gremlins, thus crap pdf converting was the least of my worries. If, hypothetically, you were to find a wrong page number in TOC or other strangeness, please tell me and I will send gremlin killing fairy* to fix.

Also on espace@Curtin you can find articles I wrote on aspects of my research while thesis was in progress. They are much shorter and perhaps not quite so boring to read.


Snowball, Clare (2011) Graphic novels: Enticing teenagers into the library PhD Thesis. Curtin University

*Note: I may have fairies on the brain. I went to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream last night. It was quite dreamily divine. The fairies had fairy lights in their skirts – I want!

“Fie, where is my skirt? When I find that canker-blossom Helena…” or was it the fairies that snitched it?


Written by ClareSnow

11 May 2011 at 8:36 am

2 Responses

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  1. Hello Clare,
    Finally found it, but not the whole thing.
    Very impressive indeed.

    Susan Snowball

    12 May 2011 at 3:18 pm

  2. :D love your work :D Love It :D


    3 February 2012 at 8:08 pm

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