The town's library is a lovely place and we know most of the staff by sight (to their regret, they know us, too). When SW came out in a paperback edition, we donated a copy for the library's collection. We thought this would be quick and easy process. Boy, were we wrong.
The book came out in April of 2011. We called toward the end of the month, spoke to a staff member, and learned we'd need to provide a copy to...well, you wouldn't know her, but the librarian in charge of putting books on the shelves. Once they accept a book, it has to be cataloged, they put some kind of glossy covering on the thing, there's an entire series of steps. This was Step One.
We mistakenly thought it was Step One - Done, but no. Since our novel is directed toward a YA audience, it was shipped over to the librarian who specializes in teen/young adult/children books. But, since SW was donated (and didn't carry a Big Name Publisher's imprint), the librarian had to read and approve the novel as Safe for Our Children, too. However....
Like many of the government facilities in the nation, the local library has budgetary issues. People haven't been fired but hours were cut and fewer hours meant less time to read a donated novel that probably wasn't very good. (In our recent travels, a librarian told us she'd been trained to believe that s'pubbed = bad. We're sure she was exaggerating. There can't be an entire class devoted to the awfulness of self-published writing. Can there? You'd think you could pass such a belief along in a quick e-mail.) Now, if you love literature and your job involves reading every donated book before putting it before the public...and you've been taught, the book is gonna stink...we'd imagine you aren't all that eager to start the process. So the Youth Librarian didn't. In order to avoid reading our novel, she took a different job in the library system.
We're kidding. We hope. The fact is, more weeks passed and the YL didn't read our book and she did take a different job in the system. Which meant, our story now travelled over to the new Youth Librarian. Who was learning her job and had plenty on her plate without having to look at our donation. More weeks passed.
Still, we live in a small town, and there's no way to avoid a pair of your more frequent patrons forever so she did kind of a side move: She gave the novel to her 12-year old daughter to read. She told us her daughter zipped right through, which was presumably a good thing, but her daughter's approval wasn't enough. And, really, what if we'd written a terrible, mind-corrupting book full of awfulness? What would this have done to the mother-daughter relationship? She still had to read the piece herself. And time, it traveled on.
This month, we finally found our book and our pseudonym in the library system. Yay! Eight months plus after we started everything by giving our book away. When we walked into the main building, looking for our novel...it had been checked out. Yay!
All in all, it was worth the wait. But if the library want a copy of The Atheist's Daughter on the shelves, they're gonna have to buy it themselves.