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Information for authors and others submitting work for consideration by MCPL

Authors, publishers, and producers frequently ask us to include their work in Montgomery County’s public library collections. Our professional selection staff evaluates each published work or media production according to Montgomery County Public Libraries’ collection policy.

If you would like to send a single copy of your work for evaluation and/or information (including reviews, author information, and ordering details) about your book to our Collection Development staff, we will consider your book for purchase. Review copies will not be returned.

Our address is:

Collection Development
MCPL Collection Management Division
2 Metropolitan Court, Suite 4
Gaithersburg MD 20878

Please include with your submission any published reviews about your work that might help to inform the decision of the library selectors. Our professional selection staff looks for reviews in standard journals (for example, Kirkus, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal) as well as in the mainstream media, such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, etc. We rely on professional reviews to assist us in the selection of non-fiction but also in assessing potential interest in and demand for fiction, poetry, and books for young readers. Positive reviews posted on Amazon or on blogs and personal websites are seldom helpful in our decision process. We do take into consideration Amazon sales rankings of 1 to 400,000 or so, though we do not base final purchase decisions on these rankings.

Montgomery County Public Libraries can purchase only a fraction of the 500,000 or more titles published in the English language each year, so competition is fierce. We buy more titles in high-demand areas of the collection, but even there we are unable to select everything that is published in a given year, even when they have received positive professional and mainstream reviews. The costs of cataloging, processing, and providing access to any given title exceed the purchase price of the item, and we take this into account as we evaluate items for the library’s collections. We will consider, but seldom select, titles that have been self-published or published with a book packager.

The number of requests we receive to consider titles by local authors increases yearly, especially as local and self-publishing options increase. We encourage writers to learn about publishing and to submit their work to editorial scrutiny by known and well-regarded publishers, but we also understand the appeal of simply getting your work into print. While that may not result in a publication that can compete for public library shelf space, we invite you to contribute a copy to one of our Local Author Shelf programs if you are a Montgomery County resident.

A decision will be made on your work when the library is selecting new publications in the category into which your work falls. Some types of materials are only considered one or two times per year, and some titles will need to be considered more than once before a final decision is made. For these reasons, the Library cannot suggest a specific time at which a final decision will be made regarding the work, but, in general, a selected title would be added to the collection within one year of your submission, and a title that does not appear in our catalog in that time may be assumed to be one that did not meet our needs for the collection.

Montgomery County is home to many writers whose work is featured on our Local Author Shelves at the Rockville Memorial and Marilyn J. Praisner libraries. A single copy of a book by a Montgomery County resident may be added to this collection without further review. Please let us know if you would like any review copy you send to us to be included in this program if your work is not selected for purchase for the general collection.