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.

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