According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a graphic novel is "a full-length (esp. science fiction or fantasy) story published as a book in comic-strip format." But the term is always up for interpretation. They can also be referred to as sequential art, comics, photo-novels, graphics, paperback comic novels or whatever one wants to use.
There's more to graphic novels than superheroes fighting their enemies. Graphic novels cover a wide variety of topics and genres- non-fiction, fiction, history, biography, mystery, science fiction, sociology, education and more.
Upon their arrival, graphic novels will be shelved in the Graphic Novels New Arrivals section of the Browsing Collection (West Wing, lower level). After a period of time they may be shelved in the General Stacks throughout the library.