Anoka County Library (ACL) now offers a new suite of resources called MN Writes MN Reads to help local authors connect with local readers, and potentially with readers across the country. MN Writes MN Reads consists of three resources that allow authors and readers to create, share, and read ebooks. These resources, Pressbooks, SELF-e, and Biblioboard, are free to the community via the Anoka County Library website.
Pressbooks enables writers to convert their manuscripts into a variety of ebook formats, including ePub, MOBI, and PDF. Pressbooks helps writers format their books with professional design templates and includes tools to assist with book organization. After converting their book into ebook format, authors can distribute their book however they choose. One free option is SELF-e.
SELF-e is portal for sharing ebooks. Titles submitted to SELF-e undergo a basic screening process and then are added to the statewide MN Writes MN Reads collection. In addition, titles submitted are screened by staff from Library Journal, a trade publication for librarians. Library Journal selects a limited number of titles (at this time only fiction) to make available to readers across the country. Authors retain all rights to books submitted to SELF-e.
BiblioBoard is the place where readers find this content. This easy-to-use platform features work from a wide variety of genres, including comics, history, art, graphic novels, young adult novels, and romance. There are an unlimited number of checkouts, meaning that readers never have to wait for a book to be available. In addition, there are no return periods (and therefore, never any late fees)!
“Building an audience of readers is a challenge for new authors. This program enables writers to share their work with their local communities and with libraries around the country,” says Drew Wylie, ACL’s Collections Strategies manager. “It also is a place for people to share family stories and local history.”
Funded in part from private academic libraries in Minnesota and the Metropolitan Library Services Agency (MELSA), residents in the seven-county metro now have access to SELF-e, and eventually that access will be expanded statewide.
Libraries are increasingly places of content creation in addition to content consumption, and MN Writes MN Reads offers tools to help writers create and share their work. Anoka County Library is excited to offer MN Writes MN Reads, which will enable the sharing of a wide and diverse array of local stories. These resources will give local writers broader exposure and give readers access to locally-produced content.