Quite by accident, this morning I discovered that I am listed on WorldCat, a worldwide database of library holdings that are often used to secure interlibrary loans. Now, in order to be listed on WorldCat, you need to be held in a library…
And that’s how I discovered that Multnomah County Library has eight copies of my zine, Beyond the Gate: An Ethnic History of Portland’s Chinatown and Nihonmachi. And as of this morning, four of the seven circulating copies were marked as either checked out or recently returned. Whoa!
That’s right, I’m held in one of the highest circulating libraries in the United States. No autographs, please!
The larger mystery is how the library got eight copies—it sure wasn’t through me. Right before I left for Canada last August I dropped off a single copy at Central for their zine librarians to peruse, thinking if they were interested they’d contact me about obtaining more copies. I never heard a peep.
This could explain why my zine keeps selling so well at Reading Frenzy. The listing dropped off the Powell’s database several months ago, and I assumed this was because it hadn’t sold—but perhaps they all sold at once, to one person! I’ve sent an email to inquire what I can. Perhaps the librarians navigated to this blog, saw where they could pick one up without hassle, and took a walk on their lunch break.
It’s a real mystery, and I plan on solving it. It might require some legwork that can’t be done until I’m back in Portland, but that’s only a couple of weeks away. (Sure, I could email the zine librarian—but where’s the fun in that?)
Another take-away from this discovery: I’d better get cracking on producing my second title!