Archival Quality by Ivy Noelle Weir, Illustrated by Steenz

Synopsis

“The Logan Museum is a mysterious old building practically covered in skulls, and also the new workplace of Celeste “Cel” Walden, a librarian who was let go from her previous job after a mental breakdown. But Cel is desperate to feel useful, and Abayomi Abiola, the Logan Museum’s chief curator, is desperate to hire a new archivist. 

Cel soon realizes the job is unlike any other she’s had. There’s an apartment onsite she’s required to live in, she only works in the middle of the night, and she definitely gets the impression that there’s more to the museum than Abayomi and her new boss, Holly Park are letting on. 

And then strange things start happening. Odd noises. Objects moving. Vivid, terrifying dreams of a young woman Cel’s never met, but feels strangely drawn to. A woman who for some reason needs Cel’s help.

As Cel attempts to learn more about her, she begins losing time, misplacing things, passing out–there’s no denying the job is becoming dangerous. But Cel can’t let go of the woman in her dreams. Who is she? Why is she so fixated on Cel? And does Cel have the power to save herself?”

-Synopsis from inside front cover

Review

Cover image from StoryGraph

I always look forward to reading seasonal graphic novels this time of year, and this month I’ll be reviewing witchy ones in particular. I’ll be posting them throughout the month of October.

*light spoilers below*

Archival Quality by Ivy Noelle Weir is a graphic novel I recalled seeing years ago, but only just recently decided to read after a few librarians recommended it to me on Twitter.

The story follows Celeste Walden as she embarks on her new job as an archivist at the the Logan Museum. Celeste recently left her old job after suffering mental health issues and is sensitive to people judging her because of this. She wants to prove herself at this job, but strange things start happening at the museum from day one and Celeste has no idea what to make of it.

Celeste is determined to find out what the woman in her dreams wants and how she can help her, and ultimately herself. What follows is a slightly disturbing history of medical practices at the turn of the century, which the Logan Museum is focused on. Celeste uncovers a past darker than she could have ever imagined and vows to do what she can to make things right for the victims.

As a librarian who does archival work and digital preservation, I loved seeing the profession represented in this book! I thought this was a great story for a graphic novel, just the right level of spooky and creepy, and I really enjoyed reading it. The illustrations were vibrant and memorable as well. The author includes a very poignant afterward in which she shares about her own experiences with mental health and working in a similar environment as Celeste does. I wasn’t surprised by this because as I mentioned, it was very realistic to what working in this profession is like.

My library catalogued this book as being for teens, but I thought it was a great adult read as well. If you’re looking for something spooky and intriguing I would definitely recommend this.

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