Skip to Main Content

Comics & Graphic Novels

Public library!?

Animated gif from the cartoon Arthur. It says "Having fun isn't hard when you've got a library card." The three main characters walk up a sidewalk towards the viewer and appear to have library cards in their hands.
I realize that people that attend and work here may not actually live in southestern MA, but for the sake of reaching the most people, this page talks about searching for comics in SAILS (the local library network that's made up of most of the public libraries in southeastern MA).

If you live in MA (even just for part of the year as a student), you can get a library card with SAILS, just bring a copy of your ID and something with your current address on it!

The basic ideas of how to get around a public library catalog, how to browse, and put books on hold is fairly standard for public libraries - so if you don't technically live in the region you can use these ideas to approach using your local library.

Marc Brown, creator, Arthur, 1996-present, Arlington, VA: PBS, animated gif,

Search the SAILS catalog

Once your on the SAILS catalog page, in the drop down box that says "All fields" select the most relevant field to your search.


This means...

  • if you don't know what you're looking for but you want it to be a comic, select "subject" and type "comics" into the next search box
  • if you want to see what books they have by a certain creator, select "author" and type the creator's name (using quotation marks like "hazel newlevant") in the next search box
  • if you want to search for a specific book that you know the exact title of, select "title" and type the title (using quotation marks like "no ivy league") in the next search box

Once you hit search, unless you're looking for something really specific, you might get a lot of results. Use that left column to narrow down your results so they'll be more helpful to you. Especially if you only want to see things a certain library owns, check the box by that name and then click "include" in the section above.


When you find something you're interested in, click on the title. Here you'll see more information about the book, see what libraries have it, the call number at that library, and even have the option to put it on hold to pick up at your prefered library. See the "Put a book on hold" box for more details.

Browse the downtown New Bedford collection

For those of you that take classes at Star Store, the New Bedford Public Library is a couple blocks over and they have a strong comics collection. I highly recommend going over to browse!

When you enter the library (the entrance is across the street from City Hall), you can turn left for the YA comics or right for the New Books and Adult comics.

When you turn left, you'll see something like this:

A photo of the New Bedford Public Library. There's a green arrow superimposed on the photo to point to where the young adult graphic novels are.

If you walk towards the green arrow, past the first middle bookshelf, you'll see the YA comics on your left.

A photo of the YA graphic novel shelf at New Bedford Public Library.

If you turn right at the entrance and walk into the big room right in front of you and look left, you'll see this:

A photo of the New Bedford Public Library. Green arrows point left for the "New Books" and right for the comics section.

The shelf on the left is full of new books. You can browse this for comics by looking out for the "graphic novel" sticker they put on the spine (even when it's a non-fiction comic!). The shelf that the right green arrow is pointing to is full of comics that are not written for young adults.


Note - every library is different, even with the individual libraries within the SAILS network. If you're coming to a new-to-you public library, just ask the front desk where their graphic novels are ("comics" confuses some people!) and they'll point you in the right direction.

Put a book on hold in SAILS

Y'all, I do this ALL THE TIME (even if the book is at my home library). This is a major benefit of being a part of a big public library network: not all libraries can collect everything, so all the patrons from all the libraries benefit from the all the libraries' collections. By putting a book on hold, even if you're picking it up at the library that owns it, is a big time saver for you.

If you found a catalog entry for the book you want (see the "Search their catalog" box on how to get to this point), there should be a "Place hold" button near the image of the book.

When you click on it, you'll be asked to put in your library card barcode and PIN. After you log in, it will ask you to select the library that you'd like to pick it up from (it usually has your preferred one automatically selected). You'll get an email when it's ready to pick up. Each library is different, but usually you can just go to the front desk and let them know you need to pick up a book that's on hold for you. It's awesome!