Chicagoland Public Library Supports “NaNoWriMo”

In a recent article, Northbrook library takes on novel-writing, The Chicago Tribune reports on one Chicagoland public library that is offering support and services for participants in National Novel Writing Month.

National Novel Writing Month, also known as “NaNoWriMo,” is a nationwide nonprofit effort that challenges people to write a 50,000-word novel during the month of November.

In 2012 Kate Hall, executive director of the Northbrook Public Library in Northbrook, IL, decided to participate in her first NaNoWriMo at the last-minute, creating a sci-fi retelling of “Pride and Prejudice”.

“I had a friend who was doing it, and I thought it would be so much fun if we did it together, but then I got totally into it,” said Hall, who will be participating in her third NaNoWriMo challenge next month.

This year, Hall has decided to take her participation in this event a giant step further by launching a community-wide NaNoWriMo event, sponsored by the Northbrook Public Library. Every Sunday, the library will host write-in sessions to help keep experienced and novice writers on track.

“I’m writing the program, and we’re having weekly write-ins. … And we have over 350,000 volumes that you can access and professional librarians that can quickly help you find information so that you can get what you need and immediately go back to writing your novel.”

Over 250 NaNoWriMo novels have been professionally published and, with the efforts of people like Hall, there may be many more to come. Whether someone is a veteran writer, aspiring novelist, or just looking to improve their writing skills, NaNoWriMo offers many tools to help writers achieve their goals. More information on National Novel Writing Month and how to participate can be found at http://nanowrimo.org/. If you’re in the Northbrook area, please visit http://www.northbrook.info/ for information on the Northbrook Public Library’s weekly “write-ins”.

Kentucky Public Library Champions Self-Publishing For Local Authors

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.

Image Courtesy of Tuck-Hinton Architecture
Image Courtesy of Tuck-Hinton Architects

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.