Sunday, December 12, 2021

Get Your Book into Libraries

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Through the years, I've learned libraries have a system to acquire books for their collection. If you put your book in the donate box inside the library, from my experience, those books go into a place the library sells books to the public and not into the collection (where they are available to the public for years). There are over 119,000 libraries in the United States with over 100,000 of those school libraries. Even if you focus onthe 19,000 public libraries, that amounts to many books and I would love to have my books into those libraries. in this article I want to give you some ideas about how to make this happen.
I am a regular user of my local library and I hope you are as well. Years ago when my biography of Billy Graham released, I checked with my local librarian about the book and they ordered the hardcover version of my book and put it into the collection. I understand libraries have limited space for books and their collection is always in motion. When I checked this morning, that book was no longer in the collection. I did find my book in a couple other Colorado libraries where people can ask for it and read it.
When I searched my local library for my own name, I found one book, 10 Publishing Myths. I noticed they have three copies and all three copies were available. The library allows patrons to rate books—so I added my rating to 10 Publishing Myths (yes five stars).  I also asked to check out my book. Then I searched for Book Proposals That Sell, and nothing came up and I knew my new book was not in my local library. The system offered me to use a tool called Prospector (which searches other Colorado libraries).  I found my book in one library—but the book was my first edition and not my revised and current book.
Recently Midwest Review, a respected publication from libraries, reviewed Book Proposals That Sell (follow this link to look at the review in the December issue). Jim Cox, Editor-in-Chief wrote, "If you only have time to read one 'how to' guide to getting published, whether it be traditional publishing or self-publishing, "Book Proposals That Sell" is that one DIY instructional book. "
I reached out to my library reference librarian and asked her about how to get my new book into the collection. I sent this quote from Jim Cox at Midwest Review in my request and I took an additional step. I have prepared a one page library information sheet. If you check this sheet, you will see that it is targeted to libraries. Anyone can print this single page, then take it to their local library and request the book. 
I have several action steps for you from this article:
1. Print my one-page sheet (use this link) and take it to your local library and request my book for your library. 

2. Use this sheet as a template for your own book and make your own book request form, then promote it to your audience and encourage them to request your book in their library.

3. After your book gets in your library, do your best to promote the library book to others, encouraging them to check it out and use the book (which will keep it in the collection). For example, I belong to a local group of writers. Now that I know our local library has my 10 Publishing Myths, I will make a regular effort to tell the group and encourage them to check out the book and use it.  I belong to their local online group and I can post a little note about the group which would include a link to the exact place in the library where the writer can put my book on hold and use it.
Libraries have budgets to purchase books for their patrons—especially ones they have requested. As an author and a local user of your library, you can tap into this resource. What actions have you done to get your books into libraries? Let me know in the comments below.

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