Now here’s an idea right in Utne Reader’s wheelhouse: “a non-profit project promoting independent publishers to public libraries all over the United States.” It’s known as Hey Small Press! Founded by Don Antenen, who works at a public library in Kentucky, and Kate Hensley, Hey Small Press! has a three-fold method:
One: we select and review ten new or upcoming titles per month. Two: we send our list to public librarians and encourage them to order the titles. Three: we also make available all our reviews to the public. Our goal is for readers across the country to walk into their public library every month with our list of small press books and encourage librarians to order them.
Despite all the stories about the changes happening or likely to happen to libraries, Kathleen Rooney over at Harriet writes, “For the moment, brick-and-mortar libraries continue to exist, and are still great places to get actual printed-on-paper-and-bound books. So it might be of interest that…Hey Small Press! now exists too…with the aim of encouraging ‘libraries to acquire small and independent press books.’”
There are still great books being published by small presses all over the world, but on top of the changing library landscape, independent bookstores have been closing all over the place and chain stores are less likely than ever to take chances on anything that’s not a sure bet. That means those small publishing houses need all the help they can get. It’s nice to know then that, as Rooney writes, “committed people are out there cultivating love for good books and working hard to get more of them on library shelves.”
(Related: “Library Haunting: A spirited defense of one of America’s last great public institutions” from the March-April issue of Utne Reader.)
Image from Pundit Kitchen