For the most part, libraries base purchasing decisions on reviews in publications like Booklist, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and other “high-visibility” venues like the New York Times. Of course, most titles released by small presses are completely overlooked by such publications. However, there is another way to bring a specific title to a library’s attention: direct recommendation. Many library systems offer an online form allowing users to recommend a specific title for purchase. I’ve compiled a list of links to such recommendation forms.
Clearly, this list is not exhaustive. Some library systems, such as the Free Library of Philadelphia, either don’t have such a form, or else it’s so buried or counter-intuitively named, that I couldn’t find it. Others I just included because they jumped out at me during a cursory Google search (SEO in action!). Some of them ask for a current library card number, and I can’t say for sure, but my guess would be that these requests are taken more seriously, since they reflect the interests of actual library users, but probably everything counts.
The real point of this post, anyway, is to remind you that there are pretty easy ways of being proactive about raising awareness about small press titles–in this case getting them into libraries, where they can take unsuspecting readers hostage, and charge ransom from the world:
aaand for our one reader in London, Ontario:
15 thoughts on “Like it? Recommend it.”
thanks for this shya. very useful.
this is great, thanks for this, shya.
I encourage people to find the link to their local library’s recommendation form and post it in the comments.
I can’t find a recommend form, but there’s email and phone numbers on the website.
nice work, shya.
Athens (GA) Regional Library System request form:
That London link’s to Canada London, which should probably be prodded like any other library, but is not England London. A good idea though, definitely.
Here’s a contact form for one of London’s many libraries, which is the Idea Store in Tower Hamlets.
The Denver Public Library’s Recommendation page (requires a library card):
This is excellent, and thanks especially for tracking down those links.
I’d like to add that university libraries are also often very willing to take recommendations from students. As a grad student, I along with others regularly recommended films to my school’s library staff; they purchased many of them. (And there are other ways to get involved with the library: The ISU Cinema Society, a group I helped found and run, also devoted some amount of its yearly budget to purchasing films, which we donated to the school library.) I always found the staff very eager to hear what students actually wanted to see and use.
(And with books it’s even easier, because you don’t run into the issue of institutional screening rights.)
I think you meant Wichita, KS, not Wichita Falls, KS. That one’s in Texas.
Heh. Thanks. Clearly, between this and getting the wrong London, I didn’t look at these very closely. I’ll fix.
Is there any chance that your pseudonym refers to wonderfalls?
Yes, a one-hundred percent chance.
Sharon, Sharon, tell me your answer, do. I’m half crazy all for the love of you…
Denver Public Library requires a card, but some readers may have one:
(I used to work there, so uh…Hi Denver Public Library or whatever!)
Nice one Shya!