Frequently-Asked Questions
about Selling to Libraries

Q.  Why aren't all Canadian libraries in this list?

A.  Most libraries purchase via "library systems." There's no point in sending a mailing to a library without purchasing power, because all they can do is send a request to the central system to request a book, and most librarians won't bother to do that unless they know the author personally.

You may find an address for a local library on their website, but that doesn't reach an acquisitions librarian. It's there to direct the public to the physical site where they can borrow books.

Q.  Does this list include e-mail addresses?

A.  Despite the wide computerization of library catalogs, librarians tend to still be paper-based. They worry about e-mail spam and viruses, so employ sophisticated systems that will quickly screen out messages from anyone they don't know. For this reason attempts to reach libraries via e-mail is futile.

Q.  How comprehensive is this list?

A.  This list contains only libraries and library systems WITH PURCHASING POWER. That's its value, because one can easily obtain the names and addresses for all the libraries in Canada.

Q.  A friend who purchased this list said there were 102 libraries. But someone else said there are just 90. Why does the number vary from year to year?

A.. This list has changed over the 15 years since I first compiled it. Some libraries have closed, others have been "consolidated" into regional library systems, to increase efficiency. As government cutbacks occur, the number of libraries purchasing via "systems" has grown.

Q.  Why isn't my local library on this list?

A.  They probably order through a library system. But it's still a good idea to take your book to your local library, as they are always delighted to meet local authors, and will often ask their system to order your book after meeting you.

My library system didn't order from my first mailing, so I took my books to my local library, which I knew was the "main library" of the 10 in my region. Guess what? They told me they had to send the books to some office (not in a library) to have my books considered. I did that, and received a purchase order for two copies for each of the 10 libraries, and I was able to deliver these to the local branch for them to pass on. I didn't know my local library didn't make those decisions, because the "library system" in my area has a P.O. Box mailing address.

Q.  What if I want to include francophone libraries in my mailing.

A.  You can obtain a complete list of all libraries (including francophone ones) by doing a Google search. The list is overwhelming, which is why my list is so valuable to small publishers.  One site that comes up is:  It's an index of Canadian libraries' locations, home pages, and connections to telnet or web-based OPACS (Online Public Access Catalogs). 

Q.  Where can I find a list of college and university libraries?

A.  You can find Canadian university libraries at:  
The American Library Association has a college and university division, at:

Q.  Where can I obtain lists of U.S. libraries?

A. contains lists of libraries in about 150 countries. Go to the Home page and click on USA.
The American Library Association (ALA) has a great fact sheet that goes over what libraries buy, when they look to buy books, what the library market looks like, and marketing opportunities. The fact sheet even has a section specifically for indie authors, providing a link to a number of articles and resources about self-publishing and libraries that are accepting self-published books. Mailing lists for libraries are rented for one time use by a number of organizations and companies, including the  American Library Association.

Q. Shouldn't I just send my book to libraries?

A.  Books that are just sent to libraries without their having been ordered or requested by the library staff are subject to collection development and gift policies. Books not accepted into a library collection can and usually are sold at a book sale or discarded outright.

Q.  How much does your Canadian Libaries List cost?

A.  The zip file (or individual EXCEL and Word files) costs just $35 (US or Canadian dollars). We'll email it to you as soon as your check arrives.   CONTACT US  to order, or to ask for more information.