What is an LCCN?
The Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN), is a number issued by the Library of Congress when your book is listed in their catalog. Why is this important?
Two reasons why this is important for an independent author. 1. The listing of your book in the Library of Congress catalog gives libraries across the country assess to your book. Some libraries use this catalog to purchase books for their different branches. Therefore if you would like to have your books distributed to libraries, you should get an LCCN. The only cost is a copy of your book. 2. For independent authors, the presence of an LCCN is more professional and also helps to establish you as an independent publisher or small press.
While this is the professional manner to get your books in the reach of libraries, this does not always work. With that said there are other ways to get your book into libraries. Here are a few.
1. Check public libraries’ websites for their procedure of accepting self-published books.
2. Some libraries have ‘local author’ displays. You can donate one of your books to them.
3. Do an event at the library, leaving a book as a thank you for using their facility.
A tidbit. An LCCN is not needed to publish your book, however, if you plan on building your catalog of books, or to build your company, it will go a long way in establishing you as a professional. Most LCCN requests are processed in a week or two, however, I have received the number usually in a day or two.
Here is a video demonstrating how to acquire an LCCN.