Italian American Books Are Scarce at Public Libraries, Let’s Change That

Want a greater selection of Italian American books at your fingertips? Just ask.

By: Dina Di Maio, ISDA Contributor 

When I started a book club to read the works of Italian-American authors, I was flabbergasted. I know that Italian-American authors are an overlooked group by traditional publishing. However, there are a number of books written by them, more than enough to create a list for a monthly book club.

In addition, there is a plethora of self-published books by Italian-American authors from which to choose.

So why was I flabbergasted? When I went to my local library, I found few books in the catalog written by Italian-American writers and even less with Italian-American themes.

That’s when I discovered that if you have a library card from a local library in your community, you can request that the library purchase a particular book. If we want to be represented in libraries, we need to make our voices heard.

Visit the website of your local library. Search for a page that is either called “request a purchase” or “recommend a title,” or something similar.

Here’s the “recommend a title” page from the New York Public Library, as an example.

Fill out the page for books by and about Italian Americans, and especially remember self-published books as they don’t have the support of traditional publishing houses to market their work.

If we don’t take the time to read and support our writers, no one else will. They are the ones who are documenting our culture for future generations. If their work is not represented in libraries and book stores, what will our legacy be?

Ready to get reading? Here are 10 books that explore the Italian and Italian American experience.


Dina Di Maio is a lawyer and writer. Her book, Authentic Italian: The Real Story of Italy’s Food and Its People, was published in March 2018. She encourages you to get in touch on Twitter.

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