Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Remember Your Libraries

As authors, we focus on selling our books to readers, to bookstores, to online bookstores, to reading groups, to whoever will buy them. We sometimes forget that libraries buy books, too. And people check out those books and could become avid readers of other books by that author.

So, not only is it good to remember libraries, we should support them and pay attention to them.

To that end, I read a report in the Library Journal on the recent ALA 2010 in DC. ALA stands for the American Library Association. Like just about all of us, the ALA is having budget problems. Even attendance at ALA 2010 was down. The attendees -- 26,201 in total, with 19,513 attendees and 6,688 exhibitors – were upbeat and focused.

The Library Journal article is a long one and I urge you to read the full report, but here are just a few highlights:
Consonant with findings unveiled at the conference that the most important role for library computers is supporting job seekers, followed by access to online government information, Emily Sheketoff, executive director of ALA's Washington Office, noted that states use LSTA [Library Services and Technology Act] monies to pay for databases used by job seekers.

At the popular Top Technology Trends panel, hosted by ALA's Library & Information Technology Association (LITA), the topics included cloud computing, the impact of the iPad, and the ereader price war. If the latter leads to $50 ereaders by next year, as discussed, that could be disruptive to the book and library worlds.

As for a near-term trend, Dempsey suggested that as search platforms like Cambridge, MA–based Pubget's search engine for life-science PDFs make an increasing amount of a library's collection instantly available electronically, they will come to be seen as the primary way to access a library's materials.

Sacramento, CA–based information technology consultant Joan Frye Williams said libraries should work toward being the place that content creation happens, to "stop being the grocery store, and start being the kitchen," she said.

 You can also read how libraries across the country are multi-purposing their facilities and you can get ideas how you, as an author, could help both your library and yourself.

If you’ve spoken or taught a class or done something with a library, tell us about it here in the comments. It’d be fun to hear the different ways we can support libraries.


  1. Libraries are important! They also have such eclectic collections, so I'm sure those whose collect for them will be willing to consider new literature. I'm not sure how liberally minded librarians are though. Haha.

  2. I love to go to library, more than shopping centre. But selling to libraries are difficult. At least Createspace does help you do that unless you use their ISBN...

    Really Angelic

  3. I love libraries, but haven't been to one since I moved to GReece. They don't exist! :o( Gosh I miss them.

    Are you a writer? Then you MUST enter this CONTEST!

  4. A very good point. Libraries are something I only discovered in my twenties, being from a tiny village that had no public library. I've discovered many good authors with the help of my library card.

  5. I have something for you on my blog... :)

  6. I and two other authors (in conjunction with the library) developed a Georgetown Library's Writer's College and have conducted any number of classes held at the library. We share the revenue with the library which helps them be able to purchase a few thing and puts a few dollars in our pockets.

    We have been very well received. Our town is small and when we scheduled similar classes this last year, we often didn't have classes make, but our San Gabriel Writers League has benefited from the classes because a number of the students joined the league. Then, we set up a volunteer committee of two (me being one of them) to help these new writers form critique groups, training them on what a good group does, how it functions, the do's and don'ts--that sort of thing. We've had great success with our efforts and the paying it forward has had its own.

    Sylvia Dickey Smith

    A War of Her Own

  7. I'm not a regular library visitor, but I can't ever remember an author visiting our library or a writing event scheduled. Maybe I haven't been looking. I do love libraries though and I had crush on the head librarian at high school. To be young again.

  8. Enid, thanks for the tip.

    Alliterative Allomorph, seriously? Somehow, I would have thought Greece had wonderful libraries.

    Oooh, fun, Laura, I'll bee-bop over.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, Sylvia, you're amazing.

    Simon, maybe you could teach a class at your library.

  9. Since I discovered Google, I haven't been to the library. I used to be terrified I'd check out books and forget to return them and they'd come after me and put me in jail or something. Guess I need to get over that one, huh?
    I didn't think about libraries for my memoir because it was self-published. Perhaps that was a mistake. Thanks, Helen.

  10. I LOVE my library. Our local library is very dynamic, with classes, readings, community events... and I can't see why a cheap e-reader will hurt it--libraries can still have e-books to lend. They also lend DVDs audio-books (podcasts)--I feel like well libraries have been pretty adaptive. At least in my nerdy, academic community. (I hope it is happening all over)

  11. I was pleased to learn that my local library ordered five of my books for various branches, however, the exciting part is when I looked up this information, 2 of the 5 were checked-out. I haven’t done any particular programs with the library, but I’d certainly be willing to help them in any way I can. I think they provide valuable services and I’d hate to see them disappear.

  12. Now that I work at my local library I love them even more!

  13. I'm not a librarian, so I don't know, Karen. Perhaps you could talk to your local library and find out if there's a way to get into the system.

    Hart, libraries have totally changed since I was a kid.

    Jane, that would be so exciting!

    Yay Michelle! Are you paid or a volunteer?

  14. Our small town raised over a million dollars in the past three years and built a new library with lots of computers and comfortable areas. There have been lots of budget cuts to libraries from the county and state governments.

  15. So more electronic and eReader options for libraries? That's a good idea.

  16. Libraries are so important! I believe I've visited my library every 3 weeks since I was 4 :) We do need to find creative and fun ways to support them. I know our library has Wii and Guitar Hero competitions to attract the younger teens :)

  17. That's a fun idea, Jemi. Draw the kids into the library and get them used to coming in. I like it!

  18. I go to libraries several times a week - at one right now, matter of fact, lol. Around here they are putting in coffee shops, having lots of special guest speakers, activities for kids - pretty cool.

    This fall my son and I will be holding a seminar in one about organic gardening and composting - raising awareness about our new biz and products. I also am setting up a "meet the local author" book signing and discussion for soon after my new novel comes out.

  19. Libraries are great. I visit both the public library and the tech library on university campus. The libraries have followed up the development in technology and media, which is great, now that they have CDs, DVDs, internet, audiobooks ... in addition to the good old printed stuff. In particular, if I'm out traveling without my lap top, it's very convenient to borrow some internet access in public libraries >:)

    Cold As Heaven

  20. I have spoken to students at a local high school as part of a book fair sponsored by the school library and supported by the city library. We have a variety of presentations for the students and set up to offer books for sale. It is always a lot of fun and I love talking to the young people who love to read and get excited about meeting authors.

  21. Cold As Heaven, that's an excellent idea. I had not thought of finding the library in a town when I needed Internet service.

    It is fun, isn't it, Maryann? I've taught writing classes for kids at local libraries.

  22. Wii and Guitar Hero competitions - wow, now that's a progressive library. That's what I love about libraries. They constantly find ways to stay relevant. I hope to God they never go away.

  23. I love libraries! I wouldn't be able to read half of what I read if it weren't for libraries.

    My favorite way to support them at the moment is to run up large overdue fines. (and pay them) But I'm sure there are better ways. :)


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