Light Novels in libraries?

  • Member

    Have Light Novels ever made any penetration into American public libraries?

    Since the Bookworm author loves libraries, if possible, I like to put her book in a library.

    I checked database of Boston Public Library, looking for LN. They have Genre for Graphic Novels, Comic Books but not Light Novel. I searched for name of publishers I found in the topic: How do you feel about English light novel publishers, but only found some of their mangas, but not light novels. BTW, 0 hit for "J-Novel Club".

    Anyway, I submit a purchase request for the Ascendant of Bookworm, Part 1, Vol 1.

    I think it is a long shot. Their "Suggesting Purchases FAQs" says:

    • Will you automatically buy my suggested purchases?

    While we do value your input and consider each suggestion carefully, we cannot buy every suggested title.

    • I recently wrote a book. How can I suggest the library purchase the book?

    We do not purchase books directly from authors or publishers. However, the best way for us to consider your book for our collections, is to have an independent, positive review in one or more the of the major review journals (such as Library Journal, School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist and Publisher's Weekly). We are more likely to consider adding a self-published book to our collection if a major review journal has reviewed it.

    It doesn't explicitly say, but I'm sure that the same criterial applies to non-author/publisher request. Has any light novels ever reviewed by any of those main stream review journals?

    But hey, they have Mangas. How did they get in there?

  • Staff

    I haven’t been to my local library in a little over a year, however when I was there last I did notice LN volumes of Sword Art Online & Danmachi.

    Wether someone requested those titles be bought or the library staff did it themselves I can’t say, but one way or another they got there.

  • Premium Member

    I've had success renting Baccano, Toradora, and Didn't I Say to Make My Abilities Average, and Shield Hero through interlibrary loans and such. One library near me had SAO volumes too.

    "So I'm a Spider so What" was a major fail though (listing had the LN ISBN, but it was the manga). =(

    It's tough because LN series are typically long but the authors aren't exactly household names stateside. Even novelists outside of Haruki Murakami you won't usually see making much ground stateside. They might have one or two random titles from a JP fiction author, but not whole series.

    Another thing that complicates matters are that sometimes Light Novels get chucked in with Manga and other times they wallow on random fiction shelves (in my library Mystery and SciFi get their own section, but everything else is just general fiction, and YA fiction is just all together). You'd need to build up a catalog and feature it on it's own shelf I think, and hope the public takes to it. Unfortunately, that's a lot of risk when you could just get an extra copy of a popular work, like "Where the Crawdad's Sing", and it'd have a very good chance to circulate more in a year than all the LNs you'd get lifetime.

    I'm hoping some libraries near me can get some LN through Overdrive, since that feels like less of a "shelf space" commitment, but we'll see what happens.

  • Premium Member

    Oh, you're in the Massachusetts area? We should totally coordinate on license requests (anything you really want BPL to get?). x)

    Check out Overdrive if you don't mind digital rentals, and log in and then head to the Minuteman network page (as a BPL member, you should be able to use your card to access other local Overdrive library networks). They have 29 J-Novel volumes scattered across different series! (Unfortunately, I own or read all of them, but I'll probably rent some for rereading).

    BPL's Overdrive has the 5 Faraway Paladin volumes. ^_^

    Edit: Dang, looks like BPL only accepts physical requests from BPL members. I should take a trip there and get a card someday I'm not busy. xC

  • Member

    Interesting read: Marketing to Libraries: Basics - Tips for authors, small publishers, and others who wish to reach the library market.

    Libraries purchase books for adults, young adults, children, and special readers (emerging literates, large print, braille). They also purchase newspapers and magazines, reference sources, scholarly journals, electronic resources (individual and aggregated online databases, computer software, ebooks and ebook readers), audiovisual materials (DVDs and online streaming video, audiobooks and music recordings in various formats including streaming and digital downloads), and microforms (microfilm and microfiche).

    Individual libraries are responsible for their own book purchases and collections. There is no agency that chooses and distributes books and other library resources to all libraries--and that includes the American Library Association.

    Libraries select materials in accordance with their collection development policy, a statement that defines what will be added to the collection to support local interests and needs. The basics for reaching the market are:

    • Seek to have your publication reviewed
    • Consider working with a distributor
    • Exhibit at library conferences where librarians can review your publication
    • Advertise in library publications
    • Do your own direct mail
    • Collaborate with other authors through an Authors for Libraries membership

  • Member

    @terrence said in Light Novels in libraries?:

    I'm hoping some libraries near me can get some LN through Overdrive, since that feels like less of a "shelf space" commitment, but we'll see what happens.

    Actually, for submission form for Boston Public Library, I had a choice to submit book or ebook. I chose book, but maybe hurdle is lower for ebook (cheaper, zero shelf space).

  • Premium Member

    Anything in particular you were looking to get, or just more generally any LN? And physical vs digital on those?

    I'm going to do some requesting (looks like you can do up to 20).

  • Member


    Thanks, but I wouldn't push BPL for physical copy. I don't get a feel there is just not a good place for such a collection there.

    My guess is that the reason you have those collection in your local library is simply that there is somebody responsible for purchase who happen to know about LN, or have close friends who like it and talked her/him into buying them. For smaller library, maybe there aren't that many people involved in the purchase and the process is casual without much of policy and rather it is more of personal taste.

    I bet that large institute like BPL has many more staff involved in it, and the process is more bureaucratic. If they haven't got any LN now, the hurdle is high.

    I'll check minuteman network. I haven't logged in for a while and couldn't login so I have to fix that first. Maybe I'll make request there, digital or physical.

    BTW, I'm not Boston local, but a little further in the burb. I actually went to Boston today and got ID so I can make the request. Had a nice tour of BPL too.

  • I know CPL across the river has some number of LN in physical and overdrive. However, last I checked for physical, they only had the first few volumes in a scattering of series.

    For checking overdrive in any library, I have used the following search (appropriately modified):

  • Member

    Too far in the future? Really?

    alt text

  • Light novels are actually quite prevalent (and, I think, popular) at my local library. I've checked out and read Baccano and Log Horizon myself, and seen several other series. They're usually categorized as YA fiction.

  • Premium Member

    We got Dark Maidens... I don't think it's gone out to anyone but me though.

    I definitely would like to get Bookworm and / or Sexiled for my library, but probably just a single volume of each LN if any (Bookworm Manga may be an easier sell).

    Also, BPL did grab those copies of "Infinite Stratos" that I asked for on Overdrive. =)


    Baccano is one series I've been able to get from a library in transit.

    Sadly, Shield Hero novels got discarded by the library that had them. Not enough checkouts I guess.

  • Staff

    We had quite a few librarians come up to our booth at AnimeNYC asking for recommendations and to ask if we had tips on how to sort/shelve light novels.

  • Premium Member

    If libraries had light novels when I was in school I would have liked reading more in school

  • Premium Member

    Just a little bump to update on Overdrive selection at BPL.

    So they got the first 5 parts of Bookworm and the first 4 of Villainess now. All of these are checked out as well, and some with 3 people waiting for them. Slight anime bump obviously.

    Randomly, Infinite Stratos Volume 1 has a checkout too.

  • Member

    I was actually introduced to through my local library's Overdrive app. It's how I first started reading licensed light novels (I had read a few fan-translated works on occasion but nothing regularly). I think libraries are a wonderful resource for introducing someone to light novels.

  • Member

    @Terrence said in Light Novels in libraries?:

    Just a little bump to update on Overdrive selection at BPL.

    So they got the first 5 parts of Bookworm and the first 4 of Villainess now. All of these are checked out as well, and some with 3 people waiting for them. Slight anime bump obviously.

    Randomly, Infinite Stratos Volume 1 has a checkout too.

    Oh awesome, they got the first 4 of Villainess! Seems like there's already a bit of a wait on each volume. Well, I have the time to wait.

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