Emily Lunceford, digital technology coordinator for the Manlius Library, demonstrates the library's connection to the online tool Biblioboard. (photo by Jason Emerson)
By Jason Emerson
Independent and self-publishing authors can sometimes find it difficult to get their work out to the public, or even to put their manuscripts into publishable form. Patrons of the Manlius Library who like to write, read and publish independent literature don’t really have that problem, however.
The library has been offering since the beginning of the year — but now is actively promoting — digital programs for just such interests through its access to Biblioboard, a web-based platform that provides curated collections of content on specific themes. In addition to offering books, research and images, Biblioboard also hosts book formatting software Pressbooks, which allows patrons to create a book in any format needed to publish it, and SELF-e, a platform for authors to self-publish and share their original works.
“It’s nice to offer a service that is not available anywhere else in the [Onondaga County] system,” said Emily Lunceford, digital technology coordinator for the Manlius Library. “We do have quite a few writers [as patrons]. We wanted something that could engage the community and speaks to our mission to provide tools for community engagement.”
Pressbooks is an online tool that allows users to create professional quality versions of their book in ePUB, MOBI, PDF and other formats. Users can import a Word file, copy and paste from another document or write directly into Pressbooks. Users can also design their own covers, import media such as images or even audio and visual files and have design a book however they choose. Authors also retain all rights and ownership of their work.
“We want to make sure local authors know about it and take advantage of it,” Lunceford said. “It’s very intuitive, very user-friendly … it gives you a lot of control over the final product.”
Once a user’s book is complete, the manuscript can be exported into publication programs such as MOBI, EPUB, and PDF files and then seek out publication at any online publisher.
One of those publishing platforms is SELF-e, another module the library offers users through its connection to Biblioboard. SELF-e distributes books to online publishing sources, and also connects to a curated Library Journal SELF-e product showcasing the best in self-published ebooks that will be sold to libraries nationwide. This free service is available to all indie authors, no matter which self-publishing service they use. Distribution via the SELF-e platform is royalty-free and the license signed is non-exclusive, according to the site.
Bibliobord also offers users access to independent and self-published ebooks from New York State and beyond, vetted by experts at Library Journal, with no waiting, no holds, and no limits on circulation. Currently, Manlius Library’s Biblioboard features a curated list of local New York state authors (Indie New York) and collections of top picks by genre, like Romance, YA, and Sci-Fi.
These Biblioboard programs — called modules — can only be accessed through Manlius Library by library cardholders.
Biblioboard also has a public service, open to anyone but also connected to the Manlius Library database, with numerous modules offering various other content. The Manlius Library has so far created two of its own modules to be used on there as well: Manlius Informed Speaker Series and Manlius Library Bakeware.
Manlius Informed is a discussion group at the Manlius Library and Manlius Senior Centre featuring lectures with expert guests, moderated by Lewis Kuppermann. This module allows users to watch recordings of every group meeting.
The Manlius Library Bakeware module shows patrons the library’s collections of unique baking pans that allow creativity in the kitchen without a financial and space commitment. The collection began and continues to grow through donations. Library patrons can borrow any of the pans, just like a book.
The library will also add to its public Bibilioboard site tech tutorials that anyone can watch and learn from, and “Manlius Cooks,” a community cookbook to which anyone can add stories and recipes, Lunceford said.
The Manlius Library module is “a crisp, clean way to add services to a wider audience, and to be more accessible to patrons when the library is not open,” she said.
To learn more about and use these Biblioboard offerings, visit the Manlius Library website at manliuslibary.org and either click on the Biblioboard tab or go to “self publish” under the “services” tab. Biblioboard can also be viewed on its website at library.biblioboard.com.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.