Public Libraries Want You to Read Local
Late last week the CBC shed light on the phenomenon when it reported on a province-wide Read Local program in Nova Scotia:
Hundreds of e-books from Atlantic Canadian authors are now available at public libraries across the province thanks to a new program called "Read Local."
The province of Nova Scotia provided $40,000 to help fund the program which is a partnership between the libraries and the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association.
So far, 12 regional publishers have signed on.
That is possibly the single largest read local effort, but it is just the tip of the iceberg.
In addition to the program at the Greater Victoria Public Library (mentioned last week), I can also report that many other public libraries with Read Local program. Twenty minutes with Google has uncovered no less than six different Read Local efforts of various types.
The programs range from Madison Public Library highlighting books by local authors in its newsletter to a book fair in Durham, North Carolina. Many libraries maintain webpages dedicated to their Read Local programs, including San Diego Public Library, Johnson County Library (KS), Saint Paul Public Library, Caledon (Ontario), and of course Nova Scotia Provincial Library.
In related news, there is also Read Local BC, a campaign by the local Canadian publishers association which was intended to "celebrate the extraordinary depth of BC publishing". That campaign ran in April, so we missed it.
We also missed the Read Local book festival in Durham, North Carolina. Like the campaign in British Columbia, this festival was less a library program than one that the local library supported and helped organize.
From the News Observer:
The number of writers, illustrators, bloggers, book clubs, and even small presses that call our area home is astounding. Yet, in a city that thrives on festivals and celebrations, we haven’t come together as a town to honor our literary culture. Until now.
On May 15-17, an impressive cross section of our area’s literary minds and bookish professionals will converge on Downtown for the Read Local Book Festival, presented by Light Messages Publishing and Durham Public Library. The motive is simple: we want to raise money for Durham Library Foundation while celebrating our literary ecosystem.
The principles of a healthy ecosystem are fairly universal. To thrive, an ecosystem needs diversity with each member fulfilling a specific role. And our area’s literary ecosystem is no different. That’s why at Read Local, you’ll find self-published authors like Felicia Jamison and Leah Ward alongside emerging authors such as Elizabeth Hein, Carl Nordgren, and Samantha Bryant and household names like Jaki Shelton Greene, Monica Byrne, and Dasan Ahanu. You’ll also find your favorite local booksellers, up-and-coming illustrators, and several small presses.
So does your local public library support a Read Local program?
Mine does not, but I suspect that many do – we just have to find them. The programs mentioned above were relatively easy to find because they were all titled "Read Local", but there are bound to be more programs that are less visible.
I’m expecting that libraries with read local programs will prove much more common than libraries that offer help to local writers and authors. I only know of a few libraries with a self-pub or writer program. Seattle Public Library has one, and so does the in Maryland. There’s also a multi-library program in Kentucky called ePublishOrBust.
image by EDrost88