The Ultimate Guide to Get Your Book into Libraries

There are a lot of benefits to getting your book into libraries. Apart from a good boost in your audience reach, having your book held by a reputable library signifies authority and credibility in the eyes of your potential readers. It is also just a good feeling for an author to know that your book is a resource for library-goers.

But, how do you get your book into libraries? What are the steps to take?

You probably won’t have the time to go door-to-door to every library you can find – so is there a way to get access to libraries all over the US and beyond?

Luckily, online library catalogs allow you to get your book in front of millions of people. When it comes to global library databases, WorldCat by far takes the lead.

All About WorldCat

Don’t know what WorldCat is?

Imagine you could visit a library anywhere in the world and browse its bookshelves. Or even better, imagine that your readers can find your book in that library along with nearly 16,000 other libraries worldwide!

How is that possible?

Despite its name, worldcat.org is not a website for an international feline. Although, I bet that would be an epic website.

It’s the world’s most comprehensive database of library collections.

When I say comprehensive, I mean comprehensive. Check out these numbers. WorldCat includes 15,637 libraries in 207 countries. Plus, it contains over 512 million bibliographic records in 483 languages. That represents over 3 billion physical and digital library assets.

And the number of users accessing all of this? Over 100 million people. With WorldCat, you can search for books, videos, music, and any other physical items you can check out on your local library. Getting on WorldCat isn’t that difficult either. All you have to do is get your book carried by an OCLC-member library. That could be that local library a few blocks away, or any other library in their database.

How WorldCat Helps You Get Your Book into Libraries

Think of WorldCat as Google Search, crafted explicitly for bookworms. The database also can help you discover new digital contact, like downloadable audiobooks. It doesn’t just search your library either. It explores the itemized collection of many libraries at once to help you locate what you’re looking for nearby.

When you find a book or something else that you’d like to read, you can either join a waiting list, reserve it, check it out or even have it shipped directly to you.

This catalog is even perfect for helping you out on research. Let’s say you’re on the hunt for a specific topic for one of your books. WorldCat can help you find research articles or digital items that can be directly viewed or downloaded right from their database.

WorldCat even has historical documents and photos, such as local newspaper articles and digital versions of rare items unavailable to the public.

It’s a high value research resource. But do you want to know the most incredible part? WorldCat also works like a library-based kind of Goodreads.

WorldCat.org users can add content, such as notes, table of contents, ratings, and critiques to their listings.

So, you’re not only discovering catalogs of libraries near and far, but you also see community-contributed content for the material or topic you’re searching for.

WorldCat helps you find exactly where the book is available and if other readers think it’s worth checking out in the first place, all in one search.

Once you find what you need, you can add items cataloged in WorldCat to your personalized lists, and there’s no limit. You can make as many lists as you want for your profile.

That’s right; there’s no stopping you from going crazy with one or more of your beloved genres.

Using WorldCat can also simplify sourcing your references.

WorldCat records include a link that says, “Cite this item,” and it will give you bibliographic citations in five different styles: APA, Chicago, MLA, Harvard, and Turabian.

Just click the link, copy whichever style of citation you need, and paste it right into your document. You can also generate citations for an entire list of items. Come to think of it, those high school research papers would have been so much easier if I had this back then.

Now you can see why WorldCat and all of its excellent features can benefit you and your book. A record of your book has the potential to connect to tens of thousands of libraries and millions of WorldCat users throughout the world.

How to Get Your Book Listed in WorldCat’s Catalog

So now, I know you’re wondering, “How do I get my book into this beautiful resource to reach all those readers?” Well, as I’ve said, you’re going to have to have an OCLC member institution that carries a copy of your book in their catalog.

Once your book is available in a library, check WorldCat to confirm if the listing is accurate.

So bottom line, your first step in getting your book listed in WorldCat is to get some library listings of your book. If you’re unsure whether or not your local library is a member, there’s a registry search right on the WorldCat’s website where you can check.

Once the library purchases your book, they’ll be able to catalog it into their database, create a record for it, and then upload your record right into WorldCat for users to discover.

So chances are, if you find your book in WorldCat, it’s in at least one library. But if it’s not there, well, you’re going to need your library to carry your book in the first place.

I got you covered there with this video because it’s all about getting your book into the local library.

How Do I Get My Book Into Local Libraries?

Library shelf spaces are all important these days. To help you out, here’s the step-by-step process for getting successful library outreaches.

  1. Find the Location of Libraries Nearby. Try to find at least five libraries near where you live. If you’re wondering how to find them, just turn the location services on your smartphone and do a quick Google search using phrases like “libraries near me.” Make a list and be sure to include the websites of each library since you’ll be gathering some more information about them.
  2. Become Familiar with Each Library. Check out what the libraries on your list are up to. See the type of events or programs they host. Chances are, the libraries near you will have robust and varied programming. Local libraries can differ and may focus on different themes and programs. Learn the kinds of programming the libraries near you regularly put out. What themes do they often use? Figure out the ones that might be a good fit for your book.
  3. Approach The Libraries. When doing your pitch to a library, you can recommend how your talk, panel, reading, or event might tie to, improve, or complement their current programs.
  4. Highlight your local promotional tactics. Are you going to use posters, your network groups, email lists, socials, or all of the above? The library always likes to have help getting people in the door. Then, follow through with those promotions.

If you have multiple libraries in your area, why not get creative? If you know other authors nearby, ask them to collaborate with you for an event series you pitch to the local libraries. Having another author at your side could be just what you need to get that audience boost.

Libraries do all sorts of activities to attract more visitors, like hosting event workshops for their membership base. You can always use that to your advantage to get your book in the library and even gain more authority.

Get Your Book Listed Through Member Requestions

Unlike Amazon, where friends or family can’t do much to help you, libraries won’t care if the person requesting your book is someone you know. And, one of the best ways to get a library to carry your book, outside of library events, is to have members requesting your book.

They focus entirely on serving their membership base. So, friends and family can happily request your book without a hitch.

Ultimately, you want to get your book listed in as many libraries as you can through member requests. It doesn’t always work but it often does, so keep trying.

Once a few regions begin carrying your book, either through requests, events, or both you can start looking into WorldCat.org’s database to ensure everything is accurate and spick and span.

Summary on Getting Your Book into Libraries

Getting your book published is just the beginning. After all that hard work you did for your book, you’d want to ensure that as much of your target audience finds it.

If you can manage to get your book listed in the catalog powerhouse that is WorldCat, expect a visibility boost to follow. One thing is for sure; you’ll be one step closer to earning that bestseller status.

All of this is different than the Library of Congress … so let’s touch on that quickly.

If you manage to get your book into the Library of Congress, you’re likely to see library listings without all of the above efforts.

That’s a bonus but another bonus of getting that Library of Congress listing is that you’ll automatically get a PCIP or CIP data for your book.

This data becomes valuable to libraries when you or a library member approaches them. The PCIP, or the Publisher’s Catalog in Publication, is a cataloging block created by a trade cataloger.

Its primary purpose is to help librarians catalog books faster, making them a little bit happier while providing better service to library users. It also makes a book appear more professional.

To the untrained eye it kind of looks like a four-year-old typing on a laptop, but it is meaningful data to the library.

You’ll find the CIP data printed on a book’s copyright page. It includes:

  • The author’s full name
  • Subject headings
  • Dewey decimal classification numbers
  • BISAC codes (we’ve talked about those before)
  • And publisher information

Ultimately, this is all about getting your book on the right shelf in the right section, which is why it’s so crucial for libraries.

Libraries can carry your book without a CIP, but it’s sure is helpful. If you plan to make library listings part of your overall book promotion plan, I highly recommend creating this data block if you don’t get that LOC listing.

But, when submitting to the Library of Congress, it’s worth noting that it accepts only a quarter, or maybe even less, of the books submitted to them.

It’s worth a try. But, not being listed there doesn’t mean you won’t get library shelf space.

Phew – there’s so much more we could cover, but maybe it’s just easier to schedule a call to chat with me about how we can help you write, publish, and distribute a great book libraries will want to put on their shelves? You can do that here: www.booklaunchers.com/apply

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