The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Archive for the tag “Libraries”

Book Bits: Junot Díaz, Theodora Goss, Harry Potter

Whenever I’m working on a novel–which is most of the time–my desk gets cluttered with notes and stacks of nonfiction books that focus on the location where my story is set. Right now, for example, the two books hogging desk space are Florida’s Wetlands and Florida Wildflowers. As much as I enjoy these reference books, it’s a pleasure finding time to read fiction. What a surprise, then, to pick up a copy of Theodora Goss’ The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter and discover I was reading the best fiction I’ve read in years. See my review below (Item 2).

Books an Authors Links

  1. Upcoming Title: Next From the Novelist Junot Díaz? A Picture Book, by Alexandra Alter – “Even by Mr. Díaz’s glacial standards, his latest book, ‘Islandborn,’ is long overdue — about 20 years past deadline. And it’s a mere 48 pages long. ‘Islandborn’ is a picture book — Mr. Díaz’s first work of fiction for young readers. It grew out of a promise that he made to his goddaughters two decades ago, when they asked him to write a book that featured characters like them, Dominican girls living in the Bronx.” New York Times
  2. Review: “The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter,” by Theodora Goss – “Imagine “monsters” from science fiction and horror classics written by H. G. Wells, Mary Shelley, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Robert Lewis Stevenson working together with Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson and Inspector Lestrade to track down the killers in a string of gory London murders.” Malcolm’s Round Table
  3. News: Libraries Clear First Budget Hurdle in Congress, by Andrew Albanese – “The budget battle is kicking up again in Washington, but this time with a note of optimism for libraries and library supporters. Last week, a House Appropriations subcommittee voted to recommend level funding for libraries in FY2018, which would mean roughly $231 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), $183 million for the Library Services and Technology Act, and $27 million for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program.” Publishers Weekly
  4. News: Bloomsbury goes full Hermione, set to release two Harry Potter ‘History of Magic’ titles in the fall, by Proma Khosla – “Bloomsbury has yet to share an official press release, cover art, or exact dates for the titles, but they will release in October alongside the exhibition opening. It’s unclear if or how J.K. Rowling is involved since the texts have historical context, but they will undoubtedly tempt the obsessive Potter fan.” Mashable
  5. Interview: JOSHILYN JACKSON: “Lives are this way. They have many pieces, and all the pieces touch,” with Andrew Catá – “Well, sure. I am such a coward. I never want to go down into the places that hurt, or might make me look bad, or where I confront my ugliest self. But my characters always seem to want to, and I have learned that if I fight them, I end up with 30,000 words of drivel I have to throw away.” Book Page
  6. Essay: Rebecca Solnit on a Childhood of Reading and Wandering, by Rebecca Solnit – “There are ecological reasons to question how books are made out of trees but metaphysical reasons to rejoice in the linkage between forests and libraries, here in this public library, in the town I grew up in, with the fiber from tens of thousands of trees rolled out into paper, printed and then bound into books, stacked up in rows on the shelves that fill this place and make narrow corridors for readers to travel through, a labyrinth of words that is also an invitation to wander inside the texts. The same kind of shade and shelter that can be found in an aisle of books and an avenue of trees, and in the longevity of both, and the mere fact that both, if not butchered or burned, may outlive us.” Literary Hub
  7. Feature: What makes us curious? New book asks ‘Why?,’ by Matt McCarthy – “I have a friend who is immune to clickbait. She can stare down the link to a provocative article, ponder its potential significance, stifle her own curiosity, and move on with her day. How does she do this, I have often wondered, and why am I such a sucker?” USA Today
  8. Quotation: That’s one of the things setting us apart from the big box bookstores.  They have a lot more things, but we have some highly curated, important things. I hate to sound cheesy, but it also creates buy-in for the staff. This is their section. They’re proud of it. They keep it tidy. They write shelf-talkers so people know what books they’re excited about.” – Aja Martin, Indigo Bridge Books, Lincoln, Nebraska, from Shelf Awareness

“Book Bits” is compiled randomly by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of contemporary fantasy, magical realism, and folklore novels and short stories.



Childhood nightmare: misplacing a library book and owning a big fine

In my nightmare, I’m standing before a judge who says, “You’re going directly to jail, not passing GO, or collecting $200″ because you owe (variously) the Leon County Library, the Leon High School Library, or the Florida State University Library system $100000000000 because years ago, you checked out a book and never brought it back.”

This bad dream was based on real life. I always owed fines on library books because (frankly) they (the books) fell between the dresser and the wall, they slid under the car seat, or they were beamed up to the mother ship by aliens from the Delta Quadrant.

I had excuses, but the librarians were cruel.

Main FSU library. I know better than to step inside the front door where the library police will be waiting

Main FSU library. I know better than to step inside the front door where the library police will be waiting

So, it makes my day to read this story out of Seattle: Book returned to Seattle Library more than 40 years overdue, with apology note inside. The book had been written off, wasn’t even in the system any more, so the borrower didn’t owe a $3,700 fine (at o.25 per day).

In my crime dodging fantasy when I was borrowing and randomly returning library books, I wouldn’t have written a note. I would have slid the book under a door, tossed it into the library janitor’s closet, or simply “lawyered up” just in case the principal or the cops showed up.

“Silas Marner? Never heard of it.”

“Your name’s on the library card, son.”

“A forgery, sir. Somebody from the brass section of the band is trying to get the woodwinds in trouble.”

I knew my rights even if I was in the wrong.

So, my hat’s off to this borrower in Seattle who gave the book back to the library and said s/he was sorry. I seldom wear a hat anyway, but it’s the thought that counts. As for me–if my nightmares are correct–the library police in Tallahassee, Florida and Syracuse, New York are probably waiting for me to wander through town so I can be picked up on one outstanding book borrowing warrant or another.


How to Get Paperback Books into Libraries

“Indie authors and publishers think a lot about getting books into libraries. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s a rite of passage, or a holdover of the older, traditional publishing industry. Or maybe, as in my case, it’s the awkward silence when asked, ‘Can I check out your book from the library?'”

Source: How to Get Paperback Books into Libraries – Indies Unlimited

worldcatAs a publisher, Melinda Clayton does her research so that books from Thomas-Jacob (including mine) show up in the places where prospective readers expect to see them.

Like her, the question I usually hear when I publish a new book (other than, “What pages have all the ‘good stuff’ on them?”) is “can I check it out at the library?” For a while, the answer was “yes” because I lived in a small town, worked on a city commission, and knew the librarian. So yes, my books were there.

The thing is, they weren’t in any other libraries. But there’s a way to get them there. Thank you, Melinda.


Library Journal Interviews 2015 Self-Publishing Award Winner J.K. Ullrich

Source: Library Journal Interviews 2015 Self-Publishing Award Winner J.K. Ullrich



“The Library Journal 2015 Self-Publishing Award was given to the best work from a self-published author in the U.S. in one of four genres—mystery, romance, science fiction and fantasy. The winners will receive recognition at the ALA Midwinter Meeting next month in Boston, along with a cash prize and promotion in Library Journal‘s monthly publication.”

libraryjournalIf you’re an indie author of a small publisher, check out Library Journal’s “Self-E” program which helps place your books in front of librarians. According to the site, “Over 50 percent of all library users go on to purchase ebooks by an author they were introduced to in the library.”

Click here for more information about the program.

— Malcolm


If Librarians Were Honest

If Librarians Were Honest | Brain Pickings.

“If librarians were honest, they would say, No one spends time here without being changed…”

“As library-lover Steve Jobs memorably remarked, ‘you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards,’ and these formative dots have since been connected to paint a clear picture of my deep love of libraries — those most democratic cultural temples of wisdom where we come to commune with humanity’s most luminous minds; where the rewards are innumerable and destiny-changing, and the only price of admission is willingness. Between the walls of the library are the building blocks of the most powerful technology of thought there is.”

When I was in grade school and middle school, the library started out as a place for class “field trips,” morphed into a place where we found materials for themes and book reports, and finally became a place where I found stuff to read for fun.

Perhaps you started out this way, too.

Most of the time, I don’t think about being a changed person when I walk out the door. I know more, to be sure. I’ve found new ideas and answers to old questions. And, I’ve put on the shoes of many characters as I read novels showing those characters fighting pirates and climbing mountains and falling in love.

The change is organic and often hard to notice, so it happens without our considering what huge a factor in our lives it can be. Read this installment of Brain Pickings and see how you feel about it.


Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “Conjure Woman’s Cat.”

eBooksAreForever: Connecting Indie Authors with Libraries

eBooksAreForever: Connecting Indie Authors with Libraries | Indies Unlimited.

“Not long ago, I wrote about SELF-e, a new program that is connecting indie authors to libraries via a free process created by Biblioboards. While SELF-e provides eBooks to clients free of charge and no royalties are paid to the author, there’s another way that does pay royalties. It’s called eBooksAreForever. This is the brainchild of Joe Konrath and August Wainwright, and they are working hard to keep libraries in the loop on all the exciting changes in the publishing industry. For the basic background of the program, here are some salient points I gathered from their FAQ page.”

If you’re a self-published or small-press author, you might have noticed that it’s not always easy getting your books into libraries. There is, by the way, a provision in the OverDrive (who manages many libraries’ e-lending) contract with libraries that allows them to add titles, including novels written by local authors.

The eBooksAreForeEver plan, which is still in its beta stages, might be a glimpse at the future. I question the high number of reviews expected for books (100) and sales (1000) to gain admittance, though that appears subject to change and even now some books with fewer have been allowed.

Let’s hope this organization succeeds and experiments with other ways of curating the books on their list than raw statistics.


The Library of Congress to the Rescue — and book news

The Library to the Rescue | Library of Congress Blog.

LOClogo“The Library of Congress has a long tradition of assisting other institutions in preserving their collections.

“Nearly a century after the Library of Congress collection was destroyed by a fire in the U.S. Capitol building in 1814, the New York State Library in Albany, N.Y., experienced a similar fate.” Click on the link to read about other rescues.

News and Ideas

  • enchantedLOGOResource: Fairy Tale Fans: Meet the International Fairy-Tale Filmography, By Lissa Sloan – ” Until recently, if you had asked me how many fairy tale films were out there, I would have said, aside from Disney animated ones, and some new ones resulting from the current popularity of fairy tales, not too many. Thanks to the International Fairy-Tale Filmography,, I now know how wrong I was. The International Fairy-Tale Filmography is the creation of Jack Zipes, Pauline Greenhill, and Kendra Magnus-Johnston and was funded by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. It is an extensive, searchable, and free online database of over two thousand fairy tale films.” – Enchanted Conversation
  • News: Helen Macdonald wins 2014 Costa book award for ‘haunting’ H is for Hawk – “A book which explores grief, love and nature – as well as just how you train a goshawk you’ve boughHisforHawkt for £800 – won its author Helen Macdonald a second leading literary prize.” – The Guardian
  • News: Diana Gabaldon, Poisoned Pen Launch Writers’ Program – The author of the bestselling Outlander series, Diana Gabaldon, has teamed up with her local bookstore, 26-year-old Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, Ariz., on a writer-in-residence program. Charles Finch, author of the Charles Lenox mystery novels set in Victorian England, has been chosen as the inaugural resident.” – Publishers Weekly
  • Feature: So You Want to Be a Famous Self-Published Author? – Veteran author “Warren Adler offers a “reality check” for would-be authors who believe fame and fortune is just a book away.” – Publishing Perspectives



Libraries offer alternatives to our culture of surveillance

Libraries offer alternatives to our culture of surveillance

Related book.

Related book.

“Melissa Morrone, a librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library, helps patrons navigate the internet safely and securely every day.

“In an essay for Waging Nonviolence, she describes how digital information literacy is an integral aspect of her job.”

An interesting and timely look at the world of “what the government knows about you.”


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