Libraries. A time honored monument to our desire to preserve our past and share our stories. Since people first began setting down their stories on paper, the idea of a library as both a physical place and an institution has been central to how we organize society. The details change over time, but the purpose remains the same: store and make available to the public the knowledge and stories of the past and present.
Some years ago, as the Internet worked its way into our daily lives, there was an undercurrent of fear that the usefulness of libraries might have begun to wane. The information they stored in vast stacks of books could be digitized and presented in the palm of your hand. The questions that could absorb hours of scouring books were answered in moments with a Google search.
Thankfully we know that the Internet won’t directly be replacing libraries any time soon. What the Internet revolution taught us about libraries is that the institution still serves many vital purposes in their communities. From a place to go for a new novel, to a central locale for research, libraries evolved into a hub for information, web access, and a dedicated ‘maker-space’ for do-it-yourself minded people.
Sounds like a place perfect for self-publishing, doesn’t it?
Yet self-publishing and libraries have been slow to connect in many of the ways you would expect. Happily, we can observe that trend changing, as more libraries around the world are finding ways to incorporate self-publishing. The movement to promote community involvement and foster a creative world is one shared by both libraries and self-publishers; this connection alone is reason enough to recognize the need for libraries to embrace self-publishing.