How Much do Our Councils Owe Local Authors?

Nov 9 2012

An interesting question in the light of the fact that I alerted Bayside Council Library to the fact that I have recently launched a new novel. Perhaps they may like to buy a few copies and put them on the shelf? After all, I am a longtime resident of over forty years, all of which time I have been paying my council rates. Did they support local authors at all?
“Oh yes, that is part of our mission statement. Local authors are important. Let me see, are you listed in the ‘Libraries Register’? I see, you have written two more books, we have one of them.”
“That would be the one that I donated when ‘Lover Husband Father Monster’ was released. I gave it to you in the hope that you may realize that it is a good book and BUY a couple of other copies to put on the shelves.”
“Oh yes. It is always out. I can see by our records that it has travelled around the whole of the Council area.”
So frustrating!
Every year we, and many others go along to hear authors speak at the Bayside Writers Festival. Not many of them live in Bayside.
Shouldn’t our local council be supporting local artists, not showcasing national and international authors who already take up much of the shelf space?
How important is Australian literature in the cultural life of our city?
By contrast, Warragul Library lashed out and bought half a dozen copies of ‘Ma’s Garden’ because the head librarian was savvy enough to know that it is a story of local importance and history.
“Oh, of course we must have a few copies of that,” she exclaimed. “Many of my patrons will want to read that. It will be out all the time.”
I would like to start a pressure group of Australian authors whose purpose is to remind the buyers at Council Libraries that one of their functions is to support and nurture Australian Literature. They can do that by making it available for the people who frequent their libraries.
Anyone interested?

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Thank you. My thoughts are

Thank you. My thoughts are that Australian authors are writing away in their bedsits and studios, producing literature with local content and of relevance to the average library user who never gets to taste the offerings because the local libraries are loathe to put books by emerging and unknown writers on their shelves. My local Librarian told me that they only order in a book if it has been requested four times. That triggers a BUY response. How can it be ordered four times if it has no exposure? We don't all have that many family members!
In my opinion the local library should be like the ABC. It is paid for by the community and it should be supporting the community that foots the bill. Writers are a part of the Reader/Writer equation and therefore should be nurtured. We authors should be asking for exposure and support and, what's more expecting it. We shouldn't have to go grovelling.

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