I mentioned Bakuman last week how the character Mashiro from Bakuman spends a lot of time at his studio. Let's take a quick look at what I was referring to. Here are three shots from the anime based on the book...
Now, these two kids basically inherited this studio from Mashiro's uncle, who was also a mangaka. So they had a big leg up when they were just getting started. But it's proven exceptionally useful on multiple occasions, as they get stuck and use the library of books there to research what's worked (or hasn't) in the past.
The basic idea is hardly new. Academics frequently keep the books and journals they're referencing nearby while they're working on their own research. But, typically, space considerations tend to force those collections to be limited primarily to material that is of primary and immediate use. That's one of the big reasons I'm excited to put my library together. I've been writing and researching and blogging for over a decade now where my research materials aren't always in the same place I've been doing the actual writing. I've had to sort through a pile of comics or books, pick out which ones I think are relevant, and then pile them rather unceremoniously on my desk for the next few weeks while I work on whatever project it is. Of course, I inevitably miss something or find a secondary reference to look, and I found myself heading back down to the basement (or wherever) to sort through my collection again.
While I've no intention of drawing comics like Mashiro there, the idea of having ALL of my reference material within a few steps of my physical workspace is immensely appealing. Even though much more material is available digitally and/or online in various capacities, there's still a large collection of work that I've accumulated that is NOT available outside the print version I have. Part of what makes for good research, I think, is having that material available so that I can quickly and easily find it and not have to go rooting around in another room (or an entirely different building!) just to get the resources I need.
My library, once it's complete, certainly won't have everything that I'll need, resource-wise. But I'm sure it will cut down on the back-tracking and extended physical searching that I've had to do in the past, despite my collection being fairly well-organized. But I know, from past experience, that keeping it all in one place is a boon by itself and having ready access to it like Mashiro does can't help but making things easier!