3 Ways Writers and Libraries Can Stay Relevant in the Modern World

Libraries like writers sometimes feel like they are facing an uphill battle.  How do you stay relevant in the modern world when there are so many things that people can be doing besides reading?  If you are anything like the St. Louis County Library, you meet people where they are.  Here are three things my library system is doing that can serve as examples for writers and other creative types.

The whole world of books. More than just print novels, the St. Louis County Library has worked to build its collection to meet people where they are reading.  Graphic novels? Got ’em.  E-books?  You can find both e-books to read and e-audiobooks.  Our headquarters branch also has a collection in Chinese.  Writers shouldn’t just follow trends but they should be paying attention to what is in demand now vs trying to sell what was popular 12 years ago.

Hands on experiences.  In addition to hands-on library programs like crafts and exercise classes, our library system also checks out a variety of objects including musical instruments, telescopes and puzzles.  Check out any of these items and get busy.  The library is also hosting a contest for a book mark design. Writers can take advantage of this by writing how-tos or working activities into their other work.  Think of the number of cozy myteries that include recipes.  Not interested in writing a how-to?  You can still give your readers information that they can use in their daily life.

Stay on top of social issues.  Our library system goes beyond books about hunger and Pride month.  There is also a summer lunch program for school aged children and a month of activities and lectures for Pride Month.  Abdo’s Special Reports are about hot button topics. I’ve written about race and the Dakota Access Pipeline.  Publishers are looking for fiction and nonfiction alike that cover headline topics.

It doesn’t do any good to bemoan a changing world if you want to be a selling writer.



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