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Friday, November 7 • 11:30am - 12:15pm
“Hey, I Didn't Order This!”: How to Review Donations from Self-Published Authors

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The scholar gypsy who remains active in his field but can't find a publisher. The university employee whose hobby is writing romance novels. The alumnus with a law degree who also writes poetry. What do they have in common? They all have self-published works that they want your library to make available to its patrons! Often authors provide a “free” copy to the library for just that purpose. But considering self-published books for addition to the collection can be more difficult than other donation scenarios for two main reasons:
  1. The donations are deeply personal in nature; the authors of the materials have invested their own time and finances into both publishing them and making them available to the library.
  2. Self-published materials lack the same editorial control and credible reviews that often accompany commercially published books donated to a library. Reliable, objective reviews of self-published works can be tough to find, and most libraries are not equipped to conduct a thorough review process for each donation.
So what to do? Preliminary research of collection development gift policies in academic libraries reveals little specificity regarding self-published works; an addendum to a traditional gift policy may be required. Additionally, librarians need a gently-worded “boilerplate rejection” for items they choose not to add—one different from the standard response to other donors. The presenters will share their analysis of collection development gift policies, lead a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of having specific language regarding self-published books in gift or collection development policies, and will make recommendations for the reviewing (and accepting or declining) of donations from self-published authors. Librarians will gain ideas for reviewing donations of self-published works, and self-published authors will glean strategies for donating their work to libraries.


Heidi Buchanan

Research & Instruction Librarian, Subject Liaison, Western Carolina University

Katy Ginanni

Collection Development Librarian, Western Carolina University
My jobs in life have included swimming instructor and lifeguard; artist's model; serials acquisitions and electronic resources for several academic libraries; account services, training, and sales manager for a subscription agent; Peace Corps Volunteer; bartender; and, most recently... Read More →

Friday November 7, 2014 11:30am - 12:15pm EST
Room 122, Addlestone Library 205 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC 29205