Libraries have personalities. If I had to describe our town’s library I would say it is serene. I’ve been to a half dozen other libraries around the Triangle and only a few stand out–our library is one. Another is Cameron Village Library in Raleigh–it has a cafe cart, is in a pedestrian-friendly retail center with dozens of shops and restaurants, and is just a 2-minute drive from downtown Raleigh.
I love our library. Our library is on the Pittsboro campus of Central Carolina Community College. (Keep an eye out for a fall writing workshop I will teach at the college!) In addition to books, CDs, and DVDs, the Chatham County Library in Pittsboro has a 1-mile paved walking trail that Ramsay and I have started to enjoy on an almost daily basis. When we walk there in the evenings it is usually “The Golden Hour” – that glorious pre-sunset time when everything looks its finest. The college has an agricultural program so the students have their own fenced chunk of classroom acreage complete with a chicken coop, honey bee hives, crops, and a greenhouse. The trail also loops past two small ponds and there is no part of the trail where you can escape the sweet honeysuckle air.
Earlier this year when we closed on our house around Valentine’s Day the library partook in the blind-date-with-a-book trend where books are displayed covered in brown paper wrapping and you don’t find out until you get home what you will be reading.
Inside, the library has a series of faux fireplaces with artwork. One side of the building is about 200 feet of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a field that stretches to the walking trail. (Also, parallel to the trail is a disc golf course.) I’ve come here to work several times. It’s a unique space to be surrounded by modern sleek architecture and yet have the pastoral field spreading from the window.
The library–as most do–has a local authors section. I realized I have not done a post on book placement in libraries!
How do you get your book into a library?
Donate. Give a handful of copies to your local branches. Inquire about arranging a local author panel as a resource to the community–maybe on an ongoing basis so that you can stay connected with local readers when your new books come out.
Ask. Another obvious and simple way is to simply ask what their book selection process is and how you may be considered. This is also thinking on a micro level. Think on a larger scale…
Reviews. Get in front of the people responsible for making book buying decisions. How do you get their attention? They read reviews in journals like Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, New York Times Book Review, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, and more. (I explain how to get book reviews during my Author Marketing class, the next one is on Tuesday, July 29th in Raleigh.)
Distribution. This is more a step for self-published authors. You will need to research and contact book distributors who have connections with libraries. Traditionally published authors typically don’t need to manage this aspect.
Quality. According to the American Library Association, “Sturdy, better quality books are an important selling point to librarians who are interested in books lasting for more than a few borrowers. Also, books printed on acid-free (alkaline) paper are more desirable because pages printed on acid paper become too brittle to use after 50 to 100 years.”