I wholeheartedly agree with Jorge Luis Borges: “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”
Libraries are an asset to every community, and particularly to writers. The following facts apply to British libraries; services may vary elsewhere.
In terms of research, the library is invaluable. Did you know that you can order any book from any other library and have it delivered to your local branch? This includes The British Library‘s excellent stock. Most libraries also have links to local history centres; helpful library staff will be able to guide you to the right resources.
Members can also use the Internet for free in most areas and take advantage of the many subscription services the library is signed up to. In my local area these include: Encyclopaedia Britannica; Gale Vault (an archive of newspapers from the 1700s to the present, including the full Times archive); and The John Johnson Collection at the Bodleian Library.
Once your beautifully researched masterpiece is completed, the library can help you with promotions. Most will happily run author events: you can do a reading, a Q&A and/or an interactive session. Local authors are particularly welcome. I’ve been to a few and they’ve always been very well attended. The staff will usually help you to sell copies at that event too (especially if you donate one to the library)! If you do give a copy to the library you will also be paid every time your book is borrowed.
The library: an invaluable research resource; a promotional venue; a way to reach more readers. Every author should use their local library to its full advantage.
What experiences have you had with your local library? Have you held an author event? I’d love to know! Tell me in the comments.
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