May 16, 2022

Preservation: "Library of Congress Announces Agreement with Small Press Expo For Acquisition of Independent Comics and Cartoon Art"

From LC:

The Library of Congress [recently] announced an agreement with Small Press Expo that will allow the Library to acquire independent comics and cartoon-art forms—material that it does not receive through copyright deposit.

The Small Press Expo (SPX) is an annual festival in Bethesda, Md., for alternative comic creators. The festival brings together more than 300 artists and publishers to meet their readers, booksellers, distributors and each other. SPX also hosts the annual Ignatz Awards, which recognize outstanding achievement in comics, cartooning and graphic novels.

“I am extremely excited about this partnership,” said Sara W. Duke, curator of popular and applied graphic art in the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division. “Small Press Expo offers talented young newcomers, as well as established artists, the opportunity to showcase their limited-edition and small-run publications.


The Library’s comic-book collection, housed in the Serial and Government Publications Division, is the largest in the United States. It contains more than 120,000 pieces and grows by 200 issues every month, in large part due to copyright deposit. Many small presses and self-published creators, however, do not avail themselves of the opportunity to deposit copies of their publications at the Library.


“By working with Small Press Expo, the Library will tap into this dynamic and creative expression in a more proactive way,” said Megan Halsband, a reference librarian in the Library’s Serial and Government Publications Division.

According to the agreement, the Library will receive the Ignatz Award nominees in the various print categories, as well as other selected comics and cartoon art. The Library also will receive SPX posters, banner ads and festival ephemera. In addition, selected websites—including the winner of the Ignatz Best Web Comic, sites that document the activities of SPX and those of recognized online comic creators—will be reviewed for the Library of Congress Web Archiving Collection, to allow collection of work that is only presented digitally.

See Also: “Introducing The Small Press Expo Collection” (via The Comic Journal)

A very informative interview by Dan Nadel with Warren Bernard, a DC area comic collector, telecom exec, and Chairman of the Board/Exec. Director of the Small Press Expo. The interview is full of background, about how the project got going, criteria for inclusion, LC’s role in preserving comics/graphic art, and much more.

See Also: The Small Press Expo Collection at the Library of Congress
A list of inclusion criteria.

See Also: Cartoon-related Research at the Library of Congress (via LC’s Prints and Photos Division)

See Also: Caroline and Erwin Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon (via LC’s Prints and Photos Division)

See Also: Prints and Photographs Online Catalog

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.