The Journey of a Book: Part 1

Written by Sarah, staff member, Collection Development

Have you ever wondered how a book ends up on the shelf at your Library? We're taking you behind the scenes of our Collection Management Department to see how books are ordered, processed, and delivered.

It's basically like an episode of How It's Made, the Library Edition.

1. Selection

Before the Library can buy any books, we have to know what’s being published. Our Collection Development team is always on the lookout for the latest, most exciting and fascinating books to fill the shelves at all 14 of our branches. Our staff members rely on journals, publisher and vendor catalogues, social media, and Library members like you to keep us informed of the books we should be buying. 

2. Purchasing

Once we know what we want to buy, the titles are sent to our Acquisitions team. Acquisitions staff members determine the best place to purchase the material and put an order together. They also type these orders into our catalogue, so you can see what we have on order and place a hold.

It’s always exciting when we receive a delivery of new books! Our Acquisitions team unpacks the boxes and change the status in our catalogue from “on order” to “in processing”.

3. Cataloguing

Next, it’s time for cataloguing. 

Our cataloguers make sure you can find the books you are looking for quickly and easily (both on our website, and on the shelf). Their work includes providing descriptions of the material, applying subject and author headings, and creating call numbers.

4. Processing

Our processing staff specialize in getting our material shelf-ready. Each book should have a call number, barcode, RFID tag (what gets scanned when you check the book out), and any necessary stickers (like our Mystery or Romance genre stickers). 

Our Library material sees a lot of use, so staff will also sometimes wrap book covers in plastic.

5. Delivery

On to delivery! Our delivery team uses our Automated Materials Handling machine to sort the new material into bins headed to our 14 different branches. Bins are loaded into our vans and sent on different routes around HRM.

From Sheet Harbour to Hubbards, our delivery team makes sure your local branch receives the latest titles. 

What happens next?

Tune in to The Journey of a Book: Part 2—coming soon. Spoiler alert: Books meet Library members, and it's love at first read.

In the meantime, a reading list

Collection Management Recommended Reads

List created by HfxPL_Adults

We asked our Collection Management staff for their top recommended reads of all time. We all know that choosing a favourite book is an impossible task. But here is a taste of some recommended reads from over the years.

This is a great multi-generational saga, with the right mix of humour and tragedy. It is full of interesting characters to love (or hate, or love to hate).It is based in reality but with the perfect amount of magical realism. And as an extra bonus, it is CanLit! - Recommended by Catherine

This is not your typical David Baldacci book. Fans of historical fiction will delight in this well written book about an invalid widow, her two young children, their new life in southwestern Virginia and their fight to stop the local coal-and-gas company from seizing their land. This is a story that will stay with you long after you have closed the book. - Recommended by Darlene

An ancient manuscript that had been lost for centuries has been found in depths of Bodleian Library. This discovery has stirred up the underworld, bringing forward daemons, witches and vampires eager to retrieve the manuscript. This trilogy is delightful fantasy, with touches of romance and historical fiction thrown in. Titles in this series include: A Discovery of Witches (book 1), Shadow of Night (book 2) and The Book of Life (book 3). - Recommended by Jasmine

What could go wrong with joining a secret, exclusive club that promises to help your happy marriage last forever? The simple rules seem easy enough to follow. The Marriage Pact is a combination of suspense and creepy and will keep your heart racing for the entire read. You won’t be able to put this book down. - Recommended by Elizabeth

Told from varying points of view, the believable, and often flawed, characters tell the story of a former Miss America after the glory of her celebrity and beauty have begun to fade. A well-crafted collection of linked short stories, Plastic provides a deft commentary on the value society places on the superficial and the effects this has on the individual. - Recommended by Dorothy

This family saga follows two young, Irish sisters as they travel to America, and the decisions they must make that have lasting consequences. This is a great read for those who enjoy historical fiction novels filled with family secrets, and a few surprising plot turns. - Recommended by Sarah

This is an incredible story based on the real life of Dita Kraus, the librarian of Auschwitz. Only 13 years old at the time of her imprisonment in Auschwitz, Dita finds courage and hope through the educators in the Kinderblock, and the secret library she is asked to protect. An inspiring read, this book is best followed by contemplative silence. - Recommended by Erin

This magical fairytale for children was the winner of the Newbury award, and is filled with adventure, courage, love and gorgeous writing. - Recommended by Cynthia

Told from the perspective of the Big Bad Wolf, this is a fun and twisted take on the story of the Three Little Pigs. If you are looking for a children’s picture book that will leave you snorting and crying with laughter, this story is for you. - Recommended by Deb

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