How Do Authors Feel about Libraries?

Libraries are authors’ biggest fans—is the feeling mutual?

Libraries promote a love of authors and their work, and authors return the favor.

To the public, libraries are vital resources for providing access to books, educational materials, and technology. But what do authors think of libraries? While libraries are undoubtedly important community institutions, they don’t exactly offer authors financial support. Check out what four authors have to say about libraries as a whole.

Some Thoughts about Libraries from Authors

So, what do authors have to say about libraries? The 1,000+ Authors for Libraries project shows how many writers care about these institutions. The page hosts a petition for published authors to support libraries everywhere.

Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman might be the most famous author you’ve heard of. He’s written Coraline, bestselling novels Good Omens and American Gods, and has even done some comics, including The Sandman. Neil is a major supporter of libraries and has given multiple talks regarding the importance of libraries across media outlets. In 2013, he gave a lecture regarding the importance of libraries, stating that:


“The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them.”


Gaiman has recently brought up the discussion again on his Tumblr, which you can find here.


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Torrey Peters

As the first transgender woman to ever be nominated for the Women’s Book Award, Torrey Peters writes about gender and the transgender experience. Her debut novel, Detransition, Baby, has received critical acclaim and mainstream success, quickly becoming a classic in Queer literature. In her statement to the Authors for Libraries Project, Peters says:


“I flat-out owe my career as a trans author to the unimpeded circulation of digital books: the first trans books that inspired me were digital, my own first books were published digitally. Bookstores didn’t carry our books at first. Therefore, any readers that have felt their own emotions changed by my published work—no matter in what medium—ultimately also owe that change to digital books. Everybody benefits when digital books are accessible.”


Matt Forbeck

Another best-selling author, Matt Forbeck, is known for more than just books. While he’s written best-selling novels, including the Dangerous Games series and the Halo novels, he’s also produced a number of tabletop games. Tales from the Loop, Deadlands, and Brave New World are staples among tabletop role-playing game (TTRPG) players everywhere. 

In his short but sweet statement to the Authors for Libraries project, Forbeck says:


"Libraries were a formative part of me learning to read, and they should be free for all forever.”


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Susan Orlean

Author and journalist Susan Orlean is best known for her recent projects, The Library Book and The Orchid Thief. She is a prominent supporter of Sarasota County Libraries and often hosts events there. In an interview with Sarasota Magazine, she discusses the inception of The Library Book and how her experiences with the library have shaped it as a whole. You can find the whole interview on Sarasota Magazine’s website.

How Do Libraries Help Authors?

While it's true that libraries don’t offer financial support to authors, they still help in other ways. For starters, libraries are great places for the public to experience an author’s work before buying it. Do you remember finding a book you love at the library and then adding it to your personal collection?

Libraries also provide authors with minor book sales. A library may purchase a few copies of a book to put on its shelves, and this money goes directly to the author. 

It’s important to note that being an author isn’t necessarily a well-paying job in most cases. Many famous authors have day jobs alongside their writing careers to help them get by. For example, authors like Neil Gaiman and Robert Glick are college professors, while poet Benjamin Garcia works as a health educator in their spare time.



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