Updating A Manga Collection

Manga. My students just love it, can’t get enough of it. But interest has dropped slightly recently and I realised it was time to update our collection to reinvigorate the love.

I am lucky that my library has a massive manga collection. It was a collection I inherited when I joined the library, built by the previous librarian. Because it was so substantial, I put it at the bottom of my list for collections to update. The others needed immediate attention, whereas the manga collection could wait. So, aside from adding a few requested titles, I haven’t done much with the manga collection in my time at the school. But, it too, despite being voluminous, actually needs some serious love and it’s finally time to turn my attention to the collection.

I am not a manga reader or anime watcher. It’s not even a format I have dabbled in. One day, I will. But I know my students absolutely love it. But they have become tired of our aging manga collection. It’s also way too big for the area we’ve had to put it into. The shelves are messy, the titles old and needing love and some need to go all together. So here’s how I, a manga non-expert, have updated our manga collection.

New titles

Not being a manga reader, I needed to be guided by others on what to buy and what doesn’t belong on our shelves. I run a student-driven collection, so I went first to my students. Anyone who borrowed manga, I asked them what titles we needed to add. I asked our Manga and Anime Club members. I asked any classes I had for Library lessons. Some students just gave me titles on the spot that I wrote down and others sent me lists. I needed to check each of these for appropriateness for the school library – just because one student likes or wants to read it, doesn’t mean it’s something I can give to all my students. So, I went through the list and checked them against a range of manga reviews and suggestion sites.

I also used these sites to add more to my to-buy list, including what was new and trending. I also checked out what our local bookshops are stocking, but I again check the review sites before buying.

New titles are being loved by students, so that’s step one working well.


I wanted to know what was being read and what wasn’t circulating much any more. I pulled down a list of titles that have not been borrowed in the past few years. I won’t weed automatically from this list, but it does give me an idea of what students are enjoying and what not. I will wait to update the collection and layout before removing them. I have a plan for making them more visible.


Auditing the collection

I know I have some gems on the manga shelf and others that maybe shouldn’t be there. I also have some in really poor condition but I do know that you can’t always replace volumes, so I need to weed carefully.

I started by creating a spreadsheet to note down the series we had, the volume numbers, the missing volumes, condition, age rating (again using review sites).

I had a temp library assistant complete most of the work on this audit process. It would have taken me a lot longer to complete if I had to do it myself. Plan B was to get student helpers to do it.


New spine label, new collection and consistency on the catalogue.

The manga books have always had their own shelf (since before I joined the Library) but have always sat in the Graphic Novel collection in the catalogue. This causes massive confusion for the students but since most just go to the shelf to find what they want, I haven’t undertaken (or asked my AmazingLibraryTech to undertake) the massive job of moving them to a separate Manga collection. We have pull all new titles in the Manga collection. Having a temp librarian working with us for a few weeks was the perfect opportunity to get this job done. I also wanted all Manga volumes to be catalogued consistently, with correct series, volume number and a format that would allow all titles to display in volume order. For our system that meant Series Title. Vol #. Volume Title. I created a step-by-step guide (with screenshots, because I am me) on how to check and update the catalogue record, add a cover image if it was missing, and move the title into the Manga collection. We also added a new spine to match our new fiction and non-fiction labels.

New layout

Did I mention we are out of space in our manga section? We moved the manga collection to the back of the ground floor. We have ridiculously low shelves in that area (thanks architects) and they are not good for much else. Fortunately, manga fits on them okay, it’s a long row of shelves, and manga is so popular the students find them anyway, even if this area isn’t overly accessible thanks to large furniture and very small floor space areas. But, we still didn’t have enough room so we are trying tubs. I purchased long, clear plastic tubs that I got from Kmart. They are 40cm deep (which do fit on our ridiculously low and unnecessarily deep shelves (thanks architects!). Hopefully students will be able to flick through the titles easily enough and it will give us a bit more room to fit the really bit series, make the area more forward facing, give me room to put books on display and just generally tidy it up. We have put series title images on the front of each tray to make it easier for students to find them. The collection is already sorted by series title so we don’t need to change that.


Will loans and interest increase? I’ll let you know.

A few titles I’ve just purchased

  • Black Clover
  • Demon Slayer
  • Jujutsu kaisen (for older teens)
  • Komi Can’t Communicate
  • Kaiju No 8
  • Blue Lock (for older teens)
  • Death Note (for older teens)