For small press and independent authors, however, you have to be willing to exercise some muscle to accomplish this. One simple way that might help is to request your book from the library and have your friends and family do the same. If there are enough requests asking to borrow a particular title, the library might be willing to invest in a copy or two.
Here are excerpts and links to articles that talk about two other suggestions for ways to break into the library scene.
Get a Library of Congress Control Number. For instance, Wordclay offers this service. Otherwise, apply directly for an Pre-Assigned Control Number.
The CIP program is more complicated: “Only U. S. publishers who publish titles that are most likely to be widely acquired by U.S. libraries” – i.e. traditionally published books, though self-publishers are certainly eligible. The difference between the programs is a full listing with author name/subject or just a control number. The Library of Congress will catalog how your book is listed. Otherwise you can draft your own and label it a Publisher Cataloging-in-Publication, as opposed to Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication. Hiring a catologing company may be necessary to produce an accurate listing. The advantage to a more extensive listing is a greater likelihood that it will be bought by libraries.
One of the best ways to get in front of librarians is to submit your book to be reviewed by one of several publications that librarians turn to for recommendations. You aren’t promised a favorable review. But if you get one, you can use it in your marketing materials, excerpt a blurb for your book jacket, or include it on your website.