Leah has asked me what I’d like authors to know about libraries and librarians. As a librarian who’s also an author, these are the truths I hold to be self-evident:
1. A good librarian will move heaven and earth to get information for you. Lots of librarians view what they do as a vocation, not just a career.
2. The education for a librarian is a master’s degree in library and information science. There’s also on-going training on top of that so she or he can give you the best customer service possible.
3. The library has information on just about anything, and it comes in many formats–print, non-print, and electronic. Libraries are networked through WorldCat, so what your local library doesn’t have, they’ll interlibrary loan for you. Usually free of charge.
4. Besides books, most libraries have free DVD checkout (including current year), free computer access, free programs for children and adults. Many libraries offer books and/or music on CDs. Free entertainment in an ailing economy. What a deal!
5. If someone tries to censor your books, most librarians will fight tooth and nail to prevent it from happening.
So this is what your library will do for you. What can you do for your library?
1. Librarians love authors. Make yourself known at your local library. Offer to do a program. Some libraries will let you do booksignings, too. It’s free p.r.!
2. Don’t stereotype us in your books. I’ve been a librarian for more than thirty years, and I’ve yet to see one wearing a bun. Most librarians aren’t shushers, either. Another stereotype.
3. If a librarian has helped you do research for your book, mention him or her in your acknowledgments.
4. Donate your books to your local library.
5. Recommend that your local writing association chapter–RWA, Sisters in Crime, SCBWI, etc.–join the your library’s Friends of the Library. It’s good p.r. It’s cheap.
6. Recommend that your writing association produce a professional-looking list of local authors that can be distributed at the library. Offer to do a display of some of their works at the library.
7. Find out who’s in charge of programming for the state library conference. Volunteer to be a speaker. This is great, free p.r.
The partnership between an author and a library is one of the most natural possible. Librarians can—and should–be your best allies.
Co-Author:The Suffragists in Literature for Youth: The Fight for the Vote; Romance Today: An A-Z Guide to Contemporary American Romance Writers; The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Ultimate Reading List; Crash Course in Library Supervision; and Marriage 101