The Minnesota Writers Directory will be a comprehensive online resource for Minnesotans who want to hire an author for an event or learn more about writers across the state.
SAINT PAUL, MN, February 17, 2019 — The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, as the Minnesota Center for the Book, has launched the Minnesota Writers Directory, an online, interactive listing of authors throughout the state. The site will serve as a comprehensive resource for event hosts looking for authors in their area, with the ultimate goal of connecting more Minnesota readers with Minnesota writers.
The Directory is the first of its kind in the state and among only a few sites nationwide that attempt to catalog their state’s authors. The idea originated with The Friends program team based on feedback from program facilitators across the state trying to book authors for events.
“We often hear from librarians who are looking to connect with authors in their area,” says Bailey Veesenmeyer, Program Coordinator for The Friends. “We’re lucky to have our own network of authors through the Minnesota Book Awards program, but without a true database, it can be challenging to make recommendations that match the host’s event. Greater Minnesota event hosts have even more difficulty finding authors who are nearby or willing to travel to their locations. We knew that a site like this needed to exist.”
To populate the site prior to launch, The Friends team reached out to Minnesota Book Awards winners and finalists from the last five years. There are currently over 100 authors listed, and the team hopes to get many more in the coming months. Applications for authors are now open.
To ensure the integrity of the site, authors are vetted through a thorough application process before being listed. Selection criteria includes being a Minnesota resident and a traditionally published writer (with work in book form). Self-published books are eligible, as long as they meet the additional criteria outlined.
Visitors to the directory can find authors in various ways. They can search by genre, by geographic location, by author name, and through a general keyword search. An interactive map of Minnesota also allows users to search by county to find authors in their area.
Author profiles include a short bio and bibliography as well as a list of the type of events for which the author is available (e.g. readings, school visits, or book club visits). Users also have the option to email the author directly from the site through a secure contact form (addresses will not be visible) to inquire about booking events.
The Friends team believes the site will be as beneficial to writers as it will be to readers. Authors with a profile on the directory will be visible to thousands of Minnesotans who might not have known them before. Event hosts in their area will be able to find them more easily and know exactly what type of events the author is available for before they connect. It may be beneficial to those authors who are temporarily unavailable as well (some well-known authors are booked out months in advance), allowing readers to learn about the author but not waste time trying to book them.
The Friends produced the Minnesota Writers Directory in its role as the Minnesota Center for the Book. The Center for the Book is an initiative of the Library of Congress, established by law in 1977 to promote books and libraries, literacy and reading across the country. The Library of Congress has designated a Center for the Book in all 50 states; The Friends was honored with this designation in 2012. The site is made possible in part by the State of Minnesota through a grant to the Minnesota Department of Education.
About The Friends of
the Saint Paul Public Library
The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library acts as a catalyst for libraries to strengthen and inspire their communities. An independent, nonprofit organization established in 1945, The Friends invests in the Saint Paul Public Library through fundraising, advocacy, and programming; as a result, our Library is a nationally-recognized leader in serving its community. The Friends also serves libraries across the country and internationally through its consulting services, Library Strategies, and promotes literacy, reading, and libraries statewide as the Library of Congress’s designated Minnesota Center for the Book. For more information, contact The Friends at 651-222-3242 or visit thefriends.org.