Finding the right sources, whether you’re a journalist or a novelist, is incredibly important for professional writers. If that material search has ever taken you to the library, you’ll already know what a librarian can do for a writer. If you’ve previously preferred to do all your own sourcing yourself, I hope this article will help you see there are faster and more efficient ways to get what you want—at your local library.
Why librarians are important to writers
Librarians and media collection specialists, like writers, have niches. While those fresh from school may not have defined their full career path, most have an idea of where they’re heading in the library sciences. If you haven’t been to a library in a while, you might only have met the one you had at public school. But a librarian’s career is varied and covers many responsibilities and opportunities, from the administrative side of running a library to shepherding prominent authors around a bit. Some librarians don’t even work with the books directly!
The ones that we’re most interested in work in public libraries and can help you with your writing research. Librarians can be an asset for research because they have literal degrees in how to curate and find information. They’ve had formal education and gained an ALA-accredited master’s degree in library science (MLS) or library and information studies in order to assume their position.
You may have boolean searches down, but you’ll never have them down like a librarian does. (If you don’t know what a boolean search is, here is a tip sheet from McGill University.)
“To a librarian, the problem with language is how many ways we humans can come up with to express essentially the same concept; a central venous catheter is also a central line catheter, central venous access catheter, vascular access device, peripherally inserted central catheter, and so on.”Xhenet Aliu – https://lithub.com/how-being-a-librarian-makes-me-a-better-writer/
Additionally, a librarian might be a great help in finding your comparables. Knowing your competition is incredibly important if you want to become a successful author, self-published or otherwise. Having a librarian show you what books are popular locally, introduce you to other authors in the area, or share information about writing festivals can help you pin down your marketing plan and even inspire you to do new things. They’re also the ones to talk to about doing a book reading at the library or suggesting your work to a book club.
It’s amazing how much time authors spend getting to know their content and insuring its accurate (here’s why you should hire an accuracy reader for that purpose). Spend that time efficiently, writer friends, and talk to a librarian!
What can a librarian do for a writer?
As you know, librarians know advanced researched methods, all kinds of cataloguing and indexing techniques, as well as book and archive presentation and curation. They also have a ton of community ties that you’ll want to make use of. Not only do they have book distributor contacts, they also help organize outreach for the library. You’d be surprised what (and who) a librarian knows.
Librarians are a great source of information on holding author events!Tweet
Plus, it’s hard to find someone who’ll get as excited to talk about books as a librarian. They know their niches, as I’ve said. If you start canvassing your local libraries for one to help you with your search material, you’re bound to find the perfect fit. Either someone who reads vociferously in your work’s category or is an excellent research assistant, or both.
The other really neat thing librarians do is curate the book list at the library. When you’re cruising the stacks and can’t find what you’re looking for, just go talk to your librarian. If they receive enough interest in a book and have the budget for it, they’ll order the book to the library. And you know this goes for your book, as well, so don’t be afraid to ask friends, family, and fans to request your title as well!
In fact, you should hit up your nearest library in your marketing efforts. Often they’ll showcase local authors in the front bins or shelves, or have some tips on how to get your book seen and heard in the community.
Talk to your local librarian today! Or send me a note and I’ll put you in touch with some excellent resources.