how to get your library to buy a book by Megan Schaulis

How to Get Your Library to Buy a Book

You can support your favorite authors without spending a dime! Follow these steps to submit a book request to your local library. It’s a great way to share your can’t-live-without-it stories with a wider audience.

Local library love

I’m a huge fan of my local library. The Pikes Peak Library District serves the greater Colorado Springs area with sixteen physical locations and a bunch of online services. They offer free Lynda courses, a massive ebook collection, and kids programs that saved my sanity when my daughter was two. I have no doubt there’s a equally phenomenal library near you.

I discovered the joys of a library when I was in my mid-twenties and super broke. Unable to spend cash on my typical entertainment activities, I got myself a library card and plowed through seventeen Janet Evanovich books in one summer.

I was hooked.

These days, I read almost exclusively on my Kindle. I’ve been pretty impressed with how many less familiar authors PPLD already carries on ebook, including many Christian and inspirational novels. But they don’t have everything.

Tell them what you want

Most libraries have a request process that allows you to suggest books for the library to buy. Many also accept donations. So, if you want to go above and beyond for your favorite author, you can buy a copy of a book and give it to the library for their collection.

While every library is a little different, here are the basic steps to request a book:

1. Make sure the library doesn’t already have it.

Use your library’s online catalog to search for your chosen book.

2. Find your library’s request form.

I couldn’t find this easily on my library’s website so I googled “PPLD request a book.” This took me to a page called Purchase Requests. Here I found a lengthy document explaining the library’s criteria for books. It seems like my library chain is open to most titles that are not textbooks, crossword or sodoku books, or books only available on the author’s personal website. They are open to buying self-published books.

3. Find the book on WorldCat

WorldCat is a massive international online book catalog. My library lets you request a book directly through WorldCat if you have a Request It account. Many libraries encourage you to share the WorldCat link in your request form. At the very least, the WorldCat listing has all the info you need for the final step.

4. Complete the request form.

The form will could require the author, full title, publisher info, and ISBN number. All of this information can be found in the WorldCat listing, either at the top or under Details. Complete and submit the form. And that’s it.

Submitting a purchase request is a great (and free) way to support your favorite authors and their most binge-worthy stories. Give a shot and let me know how it goes!

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