A few months ago I made a NYRB display at the library where I work and was shocked at how few titles we had. I have no power over what books get ordered (though I make lots of suggestions!), so unfortunately I can't just wave my hand and make it change. Fear not fellow readers, there is hope.
One of the best ways to get NYRB Classics into libraries is for patrons to request them. Librarians responsible for catalogue development are primarily concerned with three things: circulation numbers, budget, and shelf space. Most ideas for purchases come from reviews in major publications like The New York Times Book Review or Library Journal, but patron book requests are also taken into account. It’s through these requests that small press books can get onto library shelves.
Anarchist publisher Crimethinc has a printable list of their titles with all the information people need to request them at a library. This list is sent out with every order, and it works. Without any advertising or reviews in major publications Crimethinc books are found in libraries all over the country (according to Worldcat their best selling title is in over 180 libraries).
The non-profit imprint Dalkey Archive Press works with libraries to offer discounted prices and even donates their titles to libraries. While donation is out of reach for most small presses, they can develop special pricing for public libraries. This is getting more and more important as library book budgets shrink.
Once small press books are in libraries, it’s up to library workers to get them into the hands of patrons, but we can worry about getting them to fly off the shelves once we get them on the shelves.
Update: We had inaccurately described Mr. Antenen as a librarian in the original post. We apologize for the misidentification.