The library does not make the decision to carry a book because we are offered a free copy. With hundreds of thousands of books being published (many self-published), there is no such thing as a “free book” for a library. Before any item can be put on the shelf it must be selected, ordered, cataloged, a record must be added to the library’s online system, and the items must be processed (including RFID tag) and made ready for the shelf. Therefore, offering us a “free copy” is not a major consideration when determining whether material will be accepted by the Library.
If you donate a free copy of your book, please consider that donations become the property of the Library to use, distribute and dispose of as we deem appropriate. Donated copies will not be returned to the author if not added to the collection.
What We Look For: The Flagstaff Public Library selects books containing content that is written for the general reader rather than for the specialist or professional. Books that we will consider for the collection:
- Should be competitive in the market in terms of quality of writing and illustration.
- Should demonstrate that the publisher and author are familiar with current publishing trends.
- Should appeal to a broad audience and “sell themselves” in terms of jacket art, annotations, etc.
- Should reasonably be expected to have interest to a Flagstaff Library customer. If the topic is too specialized (e.g. memoirs of a Kansas childhood by J. A. Smith), it may not be considered.
- Should be available from standard Library vendors- preferably major vendors who can catalog and process the materials for the Library customer. If the book is only available as an e-book it must be carried by Overdrive (https://cocolib.overdrive.com/). This company supplies the library platform which allows us to lend e-books and circulate them while protecting copyright.
- Supplying reviews or places where reviews can be found is very helpful. “Consumable” books with pages designed to be filled in by the reader or torn out are not appropriate. Because library books get heavy use, we look for those with sewn or glued spines. Paperback editions are acceptable. Spiral and comb bindings do not stand up well to the multiple uses library books will receive.
How to Let Us Know About Your Book: The best way to bring your book to our attention is through professional reviews. A positive review in one or more of the review journals, such as Library Journal, School Library Journal (for children's books), Publisher's Weekly, Booklist or the local newspaper will give your book a better chance of being bought by our library (and other public libraries as well).
The Flagstaff Public Library cannot purchase books using a credit card. If we need to purchase the book directly, authors and publishers must fill out the City of Flagstaff vendor paperwork and be prepared to wait for payment. This is another good reason to have the book available through one of our established vendors.
Drop in visits are not encouraged. Please call ahead for an appointment. Ask to speak to the Collection Development Manager or the person who selects “name your topic” in the library. You may also want to consider attending library conferences. This is one way to reach many librarians in a short space of time. National conferences such as the American Library Association can be overwhelming, but smaller ones such as the Arizona Library Association (AzLA) attract many librarians from this area.