(By Adam Andrzejewski, RealClear Wire) The National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities is spending over $313,000 to study why minority children in the U.S. like manga, a genre of Japanese comic books, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
The funding goes to Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Studies for a three-year study on why young black, indigenous, and people of color enjoy reading manga. Additionally, the Free Beacon reported, “The grant is aimed at closing the ‘knowledge gap’ for librarians who are ‘unfamiliar’ with manga and to identify manga titles popular with teenagers.”
The funding is part of the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, which is meant to, “develop a diverse library and archival workforce” and “reduce equity gaps and address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion” in libraries, according to the Free Beacon.
Queens College will partner with Manga in Libraries, which has in the past promoted books about transgender characters and bestiality, according to the Free Beacon.
There is no value in studying this. If Manga books are popular among kids, then libraries should carry more of them. Understanding the reason why is immaterial, and spending hundreds of thousands to do it doesn’t solve or ameliorate any racial disparities. In terms of closing the librarians’ knowledge gap, a librarian might be able to ascertain which books kids are enjoying by how often they are checked out.
There are hundreds of ways to promote libraries and reading to children, but spending over $313,000 doesn’t promote reading, make librarians more knowledgeable, or solve any of the litany of problems our country faces.