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Named to "Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites," this #SharingwithWriters blog is a way to connect with my readers and fellow writers, a way to give the teaching genes that populate my DNA free rein. Please join the conversation using the very tiny "comment" link. For those interested in editing and grammar, go to http://thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com.

Saturday, September 05, 2020

Jim Cox of Midwest Book Review Shares Libraries Seldom-Used Resources

 Jim Cox of Midwest Book Review and I have been pen pals ever since we met at a writer's conference--was it some ten years ago? We kept in touch primarily because he puts out an amazing newsletter that is always pertinent to the writing life--sharing his wealth of accumulated publishing knowledge and reviews of books that are of interest in the publishing world. Of course, I couldn't resist telling him he is appreciated. That's a great way to make email pals these days.

Jim also gives me permission to reprint some of his letters and reviews. I tend to choose the ones about rarely covered topics in the blogosphere (and there are lots of them!). Today's is about some of the intricacies of  libraries' little-understood back alleys to provide resources for authors and a little about what Jim does to coordinate information he has that will be useful to them (and you!)  using the Publishers Bookshelf and Writers Bookshelf at #MidwestBookReview.  Keep reading:

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

Back in the late 70s I lived in Monroe, Wisconsin, a small town in the south of the Badger state that had a modest but very nice public library. At that time I was also very highly engaged in reading everything by Robert E. Howard (the creator of the Conan books and the man who basically launched the fantasy subgenera known as Sword & Sorcery) that I could get my hands on. It seems that Howard had published a small book of his poetry called "Songs from an Iron Harp") back in the 1930s. The original print run was something like 300 copies and the book was exceedingly rare.

When I asked the Monroe librarian how I might be able to get my hands on a copy she introduced me to something called the Interlibrary Loan System. She put in a request for that rare book for me and about a month later the search turned up a copy in the collection of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Those good folk wouldn't send me the book itself, but made a photocopy of the entire book, cover and all, and sent me that telling me that I could keep it. I still have that photo copy to this very day.

The Interlibrary Loan Service (sometimes called interloan, interlending, document delivery, document supply, or interlibrary service) is a service whereby a patron of one library can borrow books, DVDs, music, etc. and/or receive photocopies of documents that are owned by another library. The user makes a request with their home library; which, acting as an intermediary, identifies libraries with the desired item, places the request, receives the item, makes it available to the user, as well as arranges for its return. The lending library usually sets a due date and overdue fees of the material borrowed. Although books and journal articles are the most frequently requested items, some libraries will lend audio recordings, video recordings, maps, sheet music, and microforms of all kinds. In some cases, nominal fees accompany the interlibrary loan services. (Wikipedia)

Public and academic libraries have established voluntary associations, often on a regional basis, to provide an online union catalog of all the items held by all member libraries. Whenever a library adds a new title to its catalog, a copy of the record is also added to the union list. This allows librarians to quickly determine which of the other libraries hold an item. Software then facilitates the request and supply tasks. In the U.S., Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) is used by public and academic libraries. Formerly, another network RLIN (Research Libraries Information Network) was used primarily by academic libraries but merged with OCLC on October 1, 2007. (Wikipedia)

Online requests are usually submitted via OCLC's WorldCat or FirstSearch in the United States. Libraries without access to either can participate in interlibrary loan by submitting requests by postal mail, fax, email, or telephone call. These are referred to as manual requests. Manual requests can be submitted in the United States through the American Library Association. Individual libraries can agree to reciprocal arrangements between each other. (Wikipedia)

For those who might be curious, here is a link showing what an ALA Interlibrary Loan Service request form looks like:

I have archived on the Midwest Book Review website every review that I have ever done on 'how to' books for authors and publishers -- covering every aspect of the publishing process from writing an manuscript to marketing the published book. You will find them at:

Almost all of them (and there are hundreds of titles) can be obtained, for free, by aspiring writers, publishers, publicists, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in writing and publishing from their local community library through that same InterLibrary Loan Service that I was introduced to so long ago and have used for other titles from time to time ever since.


Jim Cox is editor-in-chief of Midwest Book Review archives all of the previous issues of his "Jim Cox Report" the Midwest Book Review website at www.midwestbookreview.com/bookbiz/jimcox.htm. If you'd like to receive the "Jim Cox Report" directly (and for free), just send him an email asking to be signed up for it at http://www.midwestbookreview.com. And watch for reprints of some his favorite author-and-publishing related reviews here and on my #TheNewBookReview, https://TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com


 Howard-Johnson is the multi award-wining author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers including the multi award-winning The Frugal Book Promoter (http://bit.ly/FrugalBookPromoIII), now offered by Modern History Press in its third edition. Carolyn's latest is in the #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers is How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Learn more on her Amazon profile page (http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile). Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers (http://bit.ly/Last-MinuteEditsII) is one of her booklets--perfect for inexpensive gift giving--and, another booklet, The Great First Impression Book Proposal (http://bit.ly/BookProposalsII) helps writers who want to be traditionally published. The Frugal Editor (http://bit.ly/FrugalEditor), now in its second edition, is the winningest book in the series. Carolyn also has three frugal books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it will help them convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. It is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques (http://bit.ly/RetailersGuide). In addition to this blog, Carolyn helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. She also blogs at all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at The Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor (http://TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com)

1 comment:

  1. Just because one's library doesn't stock a title doesn't mean they can't get it on loan. Always ask!


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