You’ve never seen a library like this. At least, I don’t think you have. The Unshelved books are collections of the comic strip by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum. Bill is a cartoonist, Gene is a librarian, and they’ve been publishing this strip since 2002. And that information comes straight from the website unshelved.com.

unshelved 1 unshelved 2

I don’t remember how I came across this comic, but I’m glad I did. Whenever there’s a new strip it makes me laugh. That’s what it’s meant to do! Main character Dewey (doomed from birth, perhaps?) is the Mallville Library Teen Librarian (according to his character description on the website, at least). Tamara is the extremely bubbly Children’s Librarian, and Mel is the manager. Mel deals with all the insanity that Dewey brings her way. She also can’t state an opinion without the opposite happening (“It’s so quiet today.” and suddenly there’s a marching band through the library).

The strip is hilarious and if you like comics give it a try. Or you can visit their website and start at the beginning.

Heather: I do enjoy this strip and I signed up for getting e-mails. On Fridays they have book recommendations. It’s a total blast and the Eckhart Public Library does have some of the books that they’ve recommended over the years. I’ve noticed it just browsing along the shelves or even looking up titles if I’m really curious. They recommend a variety of materials.

calvin

Bill Watterson is still a legend among many cartoonists for his Calvin and Hobbes strips. A little boy and his stuffed tiger who isn’t stuffed whenever it’s just the two of them. Across from Calvin was little Susie, the girl most everyone wanted Calvin to end up with (except Calvin). When the strip ended many readers were left pondering what happened when Calvin got older.

Calvin by Martine Leavitt plays with a similar question.

Calvin is 17-years-old and believes his fate is connected to that of the character by the same name in Calvin and Hobbes. Because of his name, Calvin’s grandfather got him a stuffed tiger named Hobbes. Calvin hasn’t thought about it for a while, but suddenly Hobbes is back. Calvin tries to hide it and then he tries to tell his parents who take him to a doctor and he’s told some pretty Earth-shattering news. He’s schizophrenic.

Calvin doesn’t want to believe there’s something wrong with him and thinks it’s all a connection to the character from Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson so he hatches a plan.

Get Mr. Watterson to write one final strip of Calvin showing him as a normal teenager living a normal life. If there’s a strip written on it then maybe, just maybe, Calvin will be able to live a normal life.

Susie doesn’t like this plan. She doesn’t want Calvin to take the risk required because it involves crossing over a frozen Lake Erie. Since Susie can’t talk him out of it, she’s going with him.

Will they make it to Mr. Watterson and get him to write a final strip? Will they survive trying to get there at all? Will Hobbes ever leave Calvin alone?

You’ll have to read it to believe it.

Heather: While I wasn’t around for the beginning and didn’t start reading the strips until after they’d ended they played a large part in helping me find my love of comics and graphic novels.

For those wondering, per dictionary.com Schizophrenia is “a severe mental disorder characterized by some, but not necessarily all, of the following features: emotional blunting, intellectual deterioration, social isolation,disorganized speech and behavior, delusions, and hallucinations.” and per a quick Google search resulting an answer from treatmentadvocacycenter.org in 2014 schizophrenia was “estimated to affect 1.1 percent of the population or approximately 2.6 million adults in the United States aged 18 or older.”

The Eckhart Public Library does have resources on Schizophrenia and other mental health disorders for anyone curious.