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:
- 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.
- 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.