by John Van Winkle
One public library in Kentucky has begun to offer opportunities for greater exposure to local authors. According to Library Journal, the Daviess County Public Library in Owensboro, Kentucky has begun to offer programs and services for those who self-publish, in order to place electronic versions of their works in curated collections at Kentucky’s public libraries.
Jim Blanton, Director of the library and founder of the program, has taken supporting local authors to a new level. Blanton has gone from initially facilitating book fairs, talks, and signings for local authors to offering potential nationwide exposure for their work.
This new endeavor, www.epublishorbust.com, was launched almost a year ago in a response to what Jim Blanton saw as apathy on the part of libraries toward local authors. The site allows authors to register their works with participating libraries, take advantage of tools to collaborate with fellow authors and staff members, as well as use booking tools to schedule readings and tours in participating libraries.
“My hope is that libraries continue to be more welcoming to local authors. As self-publishing grows, it is incumbent upon us to help them connect with readers.”
Blanton endeavors, with the help of SELF-e, a collaboration between Library Journal and BiblioLabs, to expand his program beyond Kentucky and allow Authors to book tours at public libraries across the nation. SELF-e curates and hosts self-published works for libraries.
“The [Kentucky] libraries are using SELF-e and Creator to build their ‘Kentucky Creates’ project on [BiblioLabs’ web-based platform] BiblioBoard, which is going to go beyond books to local musicians, film-makers, artists, etc.”
With the efforts of people like Jim Blanton, local authors who would have little to no exposure now have an opportunity to reach a wider audience. It may be limited to a small number of public libraries in Kentucky now, but partnerships between libraries and technology innovators like Bibliolabs could lend more legitimacy to self-published works through collaboration, digital curation, and setting quality standards for future self-publishers.