The libraries in this list all have some special collecting interest in the area of comics or cartoons. Many of the collections listed here fit into related but more general collections. Therefore, each entry begins by describing the part of each collection that makes it of special interest to comics researchers, and then, if appropriate a few words are given about the scope of the general collection at that institution.
Comics collecting as an academic library pursuit is still in its early stages. The collections at Michigan State University and at the Library of Congress are the largest so far, with the former being the most ambitious. The Centre National de la Bande Dessinée in Angoulême, France, and the Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée in Brussels are central collections in Europe, and the National Library of Australia's John Ryan collection is the best collection of Australian comics. Back in the U.S., the collections at Ohio State University and at Bowling Green State University are important and well-established. The University of California, Riverside and the New York Public Library collections are growing rapidly. Whether you need to do research or to find a depository for your publications or your collection, please examine the entries here before deciding which libraries to contact.
Most of the libraries listed will provide photocopies. In every case, however, libraries will not photocopy materials if they believe that to do so would violate copyright or privacy (in the case of personal letters or papers), or if the act of photocopying would endanger fragile materials.
Call or write these libraries before visiting. Most keep their collections in rare book rooms and restrict their use in the interest of preservation. By contacting them ahead of time, you will have established that you are a relatively serious user, and the librarians will be better prepared to handle your needs.
Successive versions of this directory have been published in issues of the periodicals Comic Art Collection, Comics Buyer's Guide, and The Funnies Paper. We can't remember exactly which issues, but they were before 1988. The list also appeared in two books: Comic Books and Strips : an Information Sourcebook (Phoenix, AZ : Oryx Press, 1988), and Comics Librarianship (Jefferson, NC : McFarland, 1990).
Librarians: if you see something mentioned in an entry that should apply to your collection too, please send an e-mail!
Back to Introductory Comic Art Collection Page
State University Libraries
Comics Research Libraries
Telephone: (517) 432-6123 x100