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Oxford County Library system adds new online tools to help writers turn their stories into eBooks and add them to the library collection

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If you’ve ever dreamed of seeing your name on library shelves, now's the time to make that goal a reality.

The Oxford County Public Library system is embracing new tools that can help budding writers create their own eBooks – and even add them to the library’s virtual collection.

“We’re offering three new resources, they’re all powered by BiblioBoard,” said systems support librarian Sarah McDonald. Oxford County branches are some of the first library systems in the country to share these tools with residents.

The first is about giving eager readers access to local, “indie” books. BiblioBoard offers an online content collection that features all independently published works, McDonald said.

“Then we are also offering a resource called PressBooks, which is for our patrons who have already created some works of their own, whether that’s a short story, full length novel, fiction, non-fiction – it can be anything. They can submit their work to PressBooks and PressBooks will convert it to an eBook format,” she said.

The tool allows authors to format their book, whether for personal use, distribution to friends and family, or even submission to a professional publisher.

For local authors who want to get their work on library shelves, the SELF-e system will be a hit.

“Library Journal is going to read all these submissions, and then certain works that they decide are particularly well written or a really engaging story, they’re going to stamp it with a SELF-e select identifier. Those will actually be pushed out to all the customers of BiblioBoard…all across Canada,” McDonald said.

Even if a book doesn’t get the SELF-e stamp of approval, the submissions will still be made available within the Oxford County Library system.

All these new tools are furthering a central goal for the Oxford County Library system – reaching out to Oxford writers.

“We really want to help support our local authors. We have so much creativity here in Oxford, we really hope with these new resources, the library will be a place these local authors can turn to for support,” McDonald said.

In the interest of celebrating Oxford’s own novelists, poets and writers, the Oxford County Library is hosting a local author fair on Oct. 15, where residents can meet and chat with the authors and add a few new books to the reading list.

For those who may want to dip their toes in the writing pool, the library is also offering a contest to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s writing of Frankenstein.

“We’re encouraging our patrons to write a piece that’s based on this idea of creations turned monstrous -- doesn’t necessarily have to be scary,” said McDonald. Submissions should be between 1,000 and 2,000 words and directed to the Ingersoll library branch.

And though the launch of the BiblioBoard resources is meant to aid new or local writers, it’s not just about the pleasure of becoming a published author.

“It’s also a really great resource for our patrons who maybe want to read something outside the norm,” said McDonald.

But the online resources have also helped rookie writers launch their careers.

“It’s a really great program,” McDonald said.

“They’ve actually had patrons be contacted by some of the really big publishers and offered publishing contracts based on the self-published items they’ve submitted.”

mstacey@postmedia.com

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