Ways authors can use the library to promote their books

Did you know that you may be able to add information and videos about your books to library catalogs? Many libraries have social catalogs, putting the power of list-making, tagging and ratings in the hands of readers, much like Goodreads and other platforms. And it gets even better: Let’s say you have a library card with Austin Public. You could upload a video about your book to your local catalog, and that same video would show up in the catalog of New York Public Library and hundreds (!) of other libraries.

At Seattle Public Library (where I work), we are one of more than 120 libraries (including Austin and NYPL, which I randomly chose to impress you) that use Bibliocommons, a shared social catalog. To give you an idea of how it works, I uploaded a book trailer from Mixed-Up Files blogger author Sue Cowen’s You Will Call Me Drog to my library’s catalog, which you can see here (choose the “video” tab). And now you can also see it here in Austin Public Library’s catalog and NYPL’s catalog and Johnson County Library in Kansas, and so on. (And thank you, Sue, for letting me use Drog as an example!)

Does your local library have similar capabilities? If so, here’s how you can enrich the catalog while also presenting more information about your book (or any book):

  1. Go to the book in the library catalog.
  2. Log in to your library account.
  3. Choose “add more” and then “Video.” You’ll fill in a box for headline, another for description, and then the code for a YouTube or SchoolTube video. Be sure to choose “embed” to get the code rather than just using the URL of the video.
  4. The video is now part of the library record for that particular book.

Videos can be anything related to your book, such as an interview, a tour of the locations featured in your book, a young reader doing a booktalk or maybe even trailers done by your readers. Here’s Better Nate Than Ever author Tim Federle talking about his debut novel and here’s a children’s librarian doing a quick 30-second booktalk on Liberty Porter, First Daughter.

You can also add tags and similar titles. When tagging, look to see what descriptive tags are already being used, such as “funny middle grade.” Consider making a thematic list, too. Who could resist books on a list called Awesomely Funny Books or Creepy, Scary Stories for kids? If your book tackles tough topics, a list of similarly themed books could be a great resource for teachers, parents and librarians.

And, of course, since we’re all lovers of middle grade books, you’ll undoubtedly want to make lists, add tags, rate books and upload videos for the books you love reading. It’s a great way to share information on books in a noncommercial setting. We’re reaching readers — with no strings attached.






Linda Johns
  1. I love this because it lets studetns look for what they are interested in instead of wandering around the library and just grabbing something. This also helps students, excuse the cliche, “not judge a book by its cover”. This allows students to know more about the books.

  2. Linda, Thanks so much for this great info! I didn’t know our Seattle Public Library is so cool! Can’t wait to investigate further.

  3. I had no idea one could do this. Thank you for sharing a new marketing possibility!

  4. Thanks for sharing this. I would never have thought to do this. I would love to learn more about good ways to connect with libraries when your book releases.