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Dayton: Cradle of Innovation

Dayton Metro Library, OH
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Innovation Summary

Self-publishing is exploding. Librarians experience daily interaction with local authors who want their books added to the library collection and who want to promote their work at the library. Dayton Metro Library listened and, in response, created the Local Author Collection and the annual Local Author & Artist Event.

Problem Statement

Dayton is a community filled with creativity and innovation, a growing cradle of passionate people. Among this group is an emerging segment of artistic and imaginative local authors. In 2012, the library began to see this segment come within its walls and ask for support. Local authors quickly became frequent clientele. They wanted their items added to the collection; they wanted their community to read and enjoy their works of art, their masterpieces. These items included everything from music cds to children’s books to adult fiction. Local authors also wanted to hold book signings at the library. The library had to determine the best course of action. Should DML add these unedited and un-reviewed pieces to the collection and hold book signings for the self-published?

Innovation

DML chose to make the most community driven, mission focused decision it could and embrace its Local Authors by creating a new collection and hosting an annual event. DML formulated a Local Author procedure easily distributed by staff, guided library selectors in adding self-published materials, and created corresponding programming. Since the Wright Brothers, Dayton means innovation, hence DML’s approach to foster creativity. The resulting Local Author collection includes both local self-published and mainstreamed published authors and reflects Dayton’s talent. The annual Local Author & Artist event showcases their work, provides networking opportunities, and portrays DML as a supportive community entity.

Progress

Since 2012, DML has added 252 items to the LA collection. In 2014, these items circulated 355 times, showing a 47.9% increase in usage. This collection includes main stream fiction, bestsellers by local authors, books as classroom assignments, poetry, and AV. Items are catalogued and shelved front and center at the Main Library where contributors can feel proud to be part of the LA collection. The annual Local Author and Artist Event was formed in May 2013 to celebrate the collective creativity within Montgomery County. Participants range from local authors, artists, and musicians to publishing companies. Each of the 70+ participants has a table in which to display and sell their work and has a chance to speak about their creative processes and resulting publications.