Meet the SEE-IT Awards Jurors: Spotlight on Meredith McGovern

Librarianship | April 09, 2020

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In the second installment of our Meet the Jurors series, we’re highlighting SEE-IT Award juror Meredith McGovern — and her passion for graphic novels.

The SEE-IT (Stories Engagingly Expressed — Illustratively Told) Awards were created to recognize and showcase the year’s best graphic novels written by youth authors. Since its inception, there have been three winners: The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded, by Jim Ottaviani; The Witch Boy, by Molly Knox Ostertag; and Speak: The Graphic Novel, by Laurie Halse Anderson. This year’s SEE-IT Award finalists will be announced in April.

Meredith McGovern, the Children’s Librarian at the Falls of Schuylkill branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, is one of this year’s SEE-IT jurors. McGovern is also a member of the ALA Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table’s Convention Planning Committee, reinforcing her passion for graphic novels and comics.

We reached out to McGovern to discuss the expansion of her library’s graphic novel collection and why she shares her love for graphic novels with young library patrons.

What led you to pursue librarianship?

I grew up as a library kid. In fact, the first place my parents let me walk to alone was the library up the street from our house! I’ve always been a reader but once I started considering going to library school, I realized being a librarian is much more than liking books or reading. It’s about sharing information, encouraging learning, and promoting intellectual freedom, which really spoke to me. Plus, being a children’s librarian is a lot of fun!  

Learn More About SEE-IT Awards

How are graphic novels helping librarians to create more diverse collections?

The stories being told run the gamut. They’re diverse not only in terms of genre but also in terms of characters, settings and the voices being heard. In graphic novels, there’s pretty much something for everyone. It’s such a wonderful feeling to watch a kid open a novel and see someone who looks like them as the main character in the book.

How do graphic novels help improve literacy?

Graphic novels are the perfect solution for reluctant readers. The jump from easy readers to chapter books can be daunting; graphic novels are a great way to get those kids to jump into something new. For younger readers, it helps them learn different ways to read a story and the different formats in which stories can be told.

Graphic novels help create a community; they’re more than just something to read! 

What is your favorite comic book/graphic novel (published 2018 or prior)?

Kate Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant.

How do you think graphic novels impact teen and young adult readers?

One thing I’ve noticed in my library is that graphic novels are such a social thing. I’ve watched kids who’ve never met bond over the fact they both like Lumberjanes or Miles Morales and end up hanging out with each other here in the library. Graphic novels help create a community; they’re more than just something to read! 

Visit the SEE-IT Awards website for more information on the awards. Be sure to look out for our third installment of “Meet the Jurors” in late April.

Meet the SEE-IT Jurors

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