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: