Stressed-out college students and cobwebby reference books aren’t the only things you’ll find in Skidmore College’s Lucy Scribner Library: The four-floor building in the heart of campus is also home to not one but two comic book treasure troves. On the first floor, just past the circulation desk, is a take-one-leave-one comic collection, which was donated to the college by French Professor John Anzalone in 2014. The display rotates every few weeks, highlighting all the top superheroes and villains in the comic world, from Superman and Lex Luther to Professor X and Magneto.
But up two flights of stairs on the third floor is the real motherlode—a hidden gem even the most frequent of library visitors may not even know about. (Heck, I’ve worked there for three years and just discovered it!) A second collection of graphic novels and comic books spans about 20 shelves. Why does a respected college research library hold all these strips? “Comic books and graphic novels are being taught at the college,” says Humanities Librarian John Cosgrove. “Some classes are specifically about comic books, but it’s mostly integrated into courses, just as film has been popping up in courses over the last 20 years. There’s an interest in it, so it’s being fulfilled.”
Cosgrove has personally made use of the third-floor collection himself, co-authoring several papers with Professor Jeffrey Segrave of the Human Health and Physiological Sciences department about sports in comic books (think competitive snowman making in Peanuts and competitive tanning in Doonesbury). The secret’s out, Saratoga. KABOOM!