Category: Books

Does my self-published book fit in the Library’s collection?

Congratulations! You’ve written a book! Not everybody can say they’ve done that!

Now you’d like the Library to buy your book. Okay, first read this article about library supply companies.

Got it? Right, now let’s have a look at what the librarian is thinking about when they’re deciding about purchasing your book.

The number one thing they’ll want to know is ‘will people who come to the Library want to read this?’ A library generally only holds onto books that people want to take home and read. So you want to make your book attractive to someone who’s browsing. Make sure it has a good cover. (You’ll find a blog post about covers here.) A snappy blurb. A great first sentence, etc.

Make sure you know what genre you’re writing in. Perhaps even go to the library to find books similar to yours. That way you can tell the librarian where you think it fits. Where it will get the most usage.

If you’ve written a thriller novel for adults but printed it in A4 size, your book will quite literally not fit in the collection. The Fiction shelves are spaced for novels of a certain size range.

If you’ve written a children’s picture book with 100 words per page, you might have written a chapter book by mistake. Again, go to the Library and see what other books are similar to yours, and how they are presented.

All set? Great. Now, read this article on how to approach the Library about your book, or go to the Local Author Resource page for more.

How to ask the Library to buy your self-published book

Firstly, congratulations on writing a book!

Next step: contact the Content Development Librarians. The City Library does not accept unsolicited materials, and we do not accept donations, so contact us first and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

We can’t buy everything. As Lemmy from Motorhead often said: where would you put it? Content Development Librarians decide which books to buy, based on the current shape of the collection, the buzz around the book, past performance of an author, and all sorts of other factors. If there’s legitimate demand, we’ll hear about it.

Content Development Librarians are often away from their desks doing various jobs, so be sure to send an email or make an appointment to chat with us. We love talking to local authors!

Please bear in mind that a public library does not hold copies of a book forever. There is a constant rotation of stock, and when your book is removed from the collection, it is purely a practical thing and not a judgement on its quality.

Have a look at our page of advice for authors too – you may find your question already answered on there.

What to put in your email/one-sheet

Kick off with something like “New book from local author”.

Give us a quick blurb – basically the same thing you’d put on the back cover of your book.

Tell us anything unique about it – this might be your “elevator pitch“.

Attach a good quality cover image.

Tell us the price, the release date, the ISBN – all the publication details.

Make sure to include a link to where we can buy the book. Maybe from Wheelers, or a local bookshop.

It’s always good to end by thanking the recipient for their time.

When will you hear back?

Generally, with public libraries, you won’t hear anything back. They’ll either buy your book or not.

After all, you’re the one who will know when your books are sold at shops or through Wheelers, and your email is a sales advertisement not a customer query.

Since there are more and more self-published books every year, the Library receives more and more emails. It might take a few weeks to look at them and make a decision.

If you really need to know so that you can sign up for the Public Lending Right Scheme, you can always check the Library’s catalogue any time.

Listing your self-published book with Wheelers

Wheelers is a library supply company that is used by many public and school libraries in Aotearoa to purchase stock. You can list your book with them by filling in the form on this page.

They will do all the work of cataloguing, processing, invoicing libraries, etc. for you, and take a percentage of the sale price.

Why would you do this? Most public libraries have fewer backroom staff these days, and with hundreds of new books being added every year, there’s simply no time for librarians to individually buy every book from separate vendors, then create a complete catalogue record for them and process them (add protective covers and strengthening tapes). This is why the Library has a few dedicated suppliers who do a lot of that work.

Since all the backroom work must be done for every single title, it’s conceivable that even a donated book could cost the library more money than one purchased from a library supply company. (Which is one of the reasons we do not accept donations.)

Note: cheapest price is not the only consideration for libraries — supporting local authors is part of our mission! But to support local authors best, we want to see their books available in libraries all over the country, and using a library supply company is the best way to do that. If you do get your books into several NZ libraries, remember to register for the Public Lending Right scheme!

Not every library uses Wheelers, but many do. If you have a specific library you want to ask to buy your book, it’s best to contact them directly. Please see the related article ‘Does my self-published book fit in the Library’s collection?

If you’re a self-published author in the Manawatū and are having problems listing your book with Wheelers, please get in touch and we’ll see if we can help!

‘Versions’ writing project

Every year the City Library gives you the opportunity to get published!

We give you a writing prompt to get you started. Let it take you wherever it will!

Submit your finished short story, poem, play script, or song, and we’ll publish it.

Maybe you’ve never written but want to give it a try, or maybe you’ve already done a lot of writing but want something quick and fun to do. Versions is for everyone!

We’re all about celebrating the abundance of creative talent here in the Manawatū.

Keep your eye on our What’s On page for the prompt announcement each year, or contact us to learn more.

Audiobook review: ‘Tim and Tigon’ by Tim Cope

One of our wonderful Awapuni Library volunteers submitted this review.

Tim Cope, a young Australian adventurer, had a childhood dream: to replicate the journey of Genghis Khan from Mongolia to Hungary, a distance of 10,000 kilometres. With extremely limited experience in horse riding and planning the best he could he began his ride, a journey that would take him 3 years to complete. Not long into his trip he met a dog called Tigon and despite efforts to return him to his home Tigon made it clear he was coming along. Together they endured searing heat, freezing cold and long, lonely nights when wolves circled their camp. Through it all, the wild beauty of the landscape and the warm hospitality of the people they encountered, encouraged them to persevere. Few of us will go on such a wild adventure so it was a pleasure to ride with Tim and Tigon on their long journey.  This is the story of an old style adventure and of a very special friendship. It is well worth reading. 

Tim and Tigon’ is available as a book on CD, and as an e-audiobook on Borrowbox.

‘Reading Unleashed’

with Canine Friends Pet Therapy and Palmerston North City Library

Reading to dogs can offer children a non-judgmental, calm, and supportive environment in which to practice both their reading and reading aloud skills. Studies have shown an association between reading to dogs and improvement in reading, motivation, emotional wellbeing, self-esteem, confidence, self-perception, and/or concentration. It is also suggested that the presence of dogs can help reduce a child’s stress levels and, thereby, possibly helping the young reader to develop a more positive approach to learning.

Excited by such potential, Palmerston North City Library and Canine Friends Pet Therapy are very happy to introduce ‘Reading Unleashed’ – a free programme where children can practice their reading in a fun way by reading to one of Canine Friends’ beautiful dogs.

Sessions are available for primary school aged children, and currently run at the Central Library on Wednesdays 3.30pm – 4.30pm during term time. Individual sessions run for 15 minutes and bookings are essential: email The programme also runs at Awapuni and Roslyn branches but is currently on hold due to building maintenance. Please visit the branches’ FAQ pages on our website for updates.

Look forward to meeting you at ‘Reading Unleashed’.

Kay: Content Development Librarian

So you’d like to start a Book Group… 

Ka pai! We love to help book groups thrive. Here are some top tips:  

Set the tone  

Would you like a single genre such as fantasy or biographies, something niche like alien romance, or would you prefer to mix it up with a variety of options? Is your group going to delve deep and get analytical or are you going to keep the tone casual? Either way, it’s important to treat members’ viewpoints with kindness and respect.  

Make a schedule 

Discuss how often you’ll meet and set an initial time that works for everyone. Will it be for an hour after work or a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon? Will you meet in-person, online, or a combination of both? Do you need to book a location? After your first meeting, you’ll have a better idea of how much time your group will need.  

Plan your meetings 

Even for the most casual gathering, it can be helpful to have a little bit of structure for example, socialising for the first 10-15mins then using some book discussion questions to settle in.  

Some great examples can be found here: 

Decide what to read  

This is likely to depend on the members in your group, but some theme ideas include: 

  • Changing the genre each month.  
  • Reading your way around the world with books set in different countries.  
  • Book-to-movie adaptions. 
  • Choosing books set in a certain decade or setting such as beach, city, space etc. 
  • Having a colour theme such as red covers.  
  • Choosing award-winning authors or short-lists such as the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.  
  • Having each member share what they’ve been reading lately.  
  • Following a celebrity book group and unashamedly stealing their choices!  
  • Join in the Big Library Read which happens each May – unlimited digital copies!  
  • Talk to your local librarian, sign up to our monthly newsletter or browse what’s new on our website. 

Accessible Books 

We have a range of formats to suit a variety of reading styles and needs including standard or large print, CD or MP3 and books in a variety of languages including Te Reo Māori. Use your membership number and PIN to access eBooks and Audiobooks on the Libby and Borrow Box apps. 

And if you’d rather have all the fun and no responsibility, check out the growing range of book groups available through the City Library.

Happy reading! 

Mobile Library timetable update

A few tweaks have been made to the Mobile Library timetable. Most of the stops are unchanged, but if you’re a regular user of the service, please check the timetable on our website just in case.

If you’ve never used the Mobile Library before, maybe now is the time to get onboard? If the Mobile stops near your house, you might find it very useful because you can reserve books from any of the other library locations and have them driven to you! The Mobile also has its own stock, which is refreshed regularly, so you can make your selections when it comes around, if you don’t have any reserved items to pick up.

If you don’t have a library card, you can get one on the bus!

You’ll also see the Mobile Library at events such as Explore Esplanade Day.

The Palmerston North Mobile Library service is 50 years old this year. Looking forward to making it a full century, getting out and serving the community!

‘Writing For Children’ panel discussion

Some of Aotearoa New Zealand’s best writers will feature again in this year’s Off the Page series.

We launch on Wednesday 26 April, 6:30pm with a panel discussion on Writing for Children featuring a panel of multi-award winning authors.

Kate de Goldi
 says, “there is nothing quite as rousing and nourishing for a writer as close proximity to the imaginative life and perspective of young people”. Read about Kate’s life in books and thoughts on reading or listen to her talk about her passion for hooking children into good quality literature and her work co-editing Annual, a collection of stories, comics, poems, crosswords, games and songs – created by some of the best New Zealand writers and illustrators – now up to its third edition.

Brigid Feehan thinks that young people and older people sometimes see things clear and true – things that people in the middle might be too distracted to see. Her latest novel, The Life and Times of Eddie McGrath, portrays the forming of a strong bond between an old woman and a young girl, who only meet by chance, over their shared affinity for animals. Read about her approach to writing for young adults.

One piece of advice Philippa Werry offers to young writers is, “Be curious. People tell each other stories every day. Learn to listen to them”. Philippa wanted to be a writer from very young and wrote stories, poems and book reviews for the Children’s Page in the Saturday Evening Post newspaper, “and I still have the book that I pasted them into!” Check out this Stuff article about her influences and how she writes.

Anna McKenzie was born here in Palmerston North before moving to Hawkes Bay. Extremely versatile in her approach, her most recent novel tells the story of a young woman coming of age in the years of WWI. Listen to Anna talking at NZ Festival Writers Week about the origins of Evie’s War, the stories that stand behind it and the research that supports it.

The Off The Page series includes talks, readings, discussions and workshops from and for writers and connects the Manawatū to the beating heart of contemporary literature. The series is a partnership between Massey University School of Humanities, Media and Creative Communication, Bruce McKenzie Booksellers and the Palmerston North City Library.

Versions Tuawhā submissions are open!

The Versions writing project is on again this year!

This is a great opportunity to see your name in print. If you want to have a go at writing a short story, a poem, or a play, use our prompt as a jumping-off point. Your story doesn’t have to be directly related to the prompt, it’s only there if you need something to get started.

Deadline for submissions is August 31, and we’ll publish a physical book as well as an ebook in October.

Prompt – The day Mark Twain came to town.

There will be some workshops to help you along the way – keep an eye on our What’s On page.

Submissions and questions can be sent to

Let your creative muse fly!