by Annie Daylon
I had no idea that indie authors could apply to have books purchased by libraries. When the illustrator of my picture book dropped that gem of information my way, I delved into research. At my local library, I spoke with the community librarian who gave me the contact information for the acquisitions librarian.
In my application email to acquisitions, I included:
- a brief bio;
- cover images of available titles (linked to Amazon);
- website link; and
- contact info.
When a couple of weeks passed with no response, I emailed again.
Still no reply.
Months later, I did a follow up. I phoned the acquisitions librarian who readily explained that she receives scads of email and that she had simply missed my request. She asked me to re-send my application email. I complied.
Within a week, a purchase order showed up: two copies of one title—Of Sea and Seed. I was elated!
Within a few weeks, my book was in the library system of the British Columbia Fraser Valley Regional Library.
Does making an effort to be known by your local library enhance your chances of receiving a favorable response to your application? Possibly.
In my case, after I experienced success with story contests and before I had even published a book, I facilitated a writing workshop at my local library. I also launched my novel Castles in the Sand at that library branch. Following the launch—a successful, partnered event attended by sixty+ people—I donated a copy of Castles in the Sand to that branch.
I also recently donated two titles to the Vancouver Public Library (a different system than the FVRL.) Although I received no response to the VPL snail-mailed donation, I can now report that both books made it onto the shelves and are currently in circulation.
All the librarians I contacted throughout my application process were considerate, supportive, and informative. One piece of information, given by the acquisitions librarian, resonated deeply with me. She said that the library gets hundreds of requests from indie authors. The problem is not that the library doesn’t want to support indie authors; the problem is that the library has no one to vet the books.
Fraser Valley Regional Library
Books enter the library system in three ways:
2) Donation, and
Purchases are made through the administration office, not through local library branches.
Donated books must be sent to the administration office, not dropped off at a local library branch. Donating does not ensure your book a place in the system. Some donated books end up in a book sale or a prize package.
Anyone can suggest that a book be purchased. Here’s how:
- Log in to their library account.
- On Menu, click Using the Library.
- Scroll down. Click Suggest a Purchase.
- Fill in required information. Note the mandatory categories: name, library card number, book title, and book author.
Note: The FVRL which encompasses twenty-five libraries and carries one million titles, gets approximately eight hundred suggestions per month. They do not accept suggestions for eBooks.
Yes, indies, libraries are on our side.
By all means, contact acquisition librarians and apply to have your book purchased.
My Best to you,