How Does That Work? Life Cycle of a Library Book.

Have you ever wondered how your favourite book gets to you when you borrow it from the library? Clearly, public libraries are seldom involved in the creation of the books you find on the shelf – so how do they get there?

Welcome to this ‘behind the scenes’ look at the Life Cycle of a Library Book.

The first step is knowing what to order and library staff across the state must keep abreast with what is available, what is recently published, what is topical and what you, the reader, might choose to take home. To do this staff use review journals, blogs, webpages and magazines; monitor what is being borrowed across the state, take reader suggestions and access online publisher websites. Of course in this state, we have the advantage of belonging to the OneCard Network which means staff from 130 public libraries across the state are working toward building a great state-wide collection.

Books are ordered centrally and online through BlueCloud, the OneCard Network’s Acquisitions module. Publishers and Library suppliers populate the Acquisitions database with a range of titles across many categories of books; fiction and non-fiction, adult, teen and children’s titles – books in standard print, large print, graphic and audio formats.
As there are many titles to choose from in the various categories, a monthly list for each category is created and made available to libraries. Once available, selectors across the state go into BlueCloud and choose the titles they would like to see in their library, according to their local budget and preferences.

Selected titles are delivered by suppliers to libraries across the state. Once they have arrived at their home library, they are ‘Received-in’ to the BlueCloud Aquisitions module and assigned to the library, which is the first step to it appearing on our catalogue.

Each item received into the library is processed. Physical processing includes Library ID stamping, Date stickers, Barcodes, Security tags and book covering.

All items received into the library are assigned an RFID tag. RFID tags (or Radio Frequency Identification tags) are small tracking devices that allow libraries to use secure, library user self check-out and return systems.

At the end of the physical processing, items are put through the library circulation system to make them available for borrowing. At this point items can be viewed and reserved from our library catalogue.

New items are put out on display in their general collection area for people to borrow. Some items are directly shelved into their relevant collection – not all new items are displayed. This year’s new item sticker is red with New 2018 written on it.

The first loan of any new item in the library is easy and exciting! A picture book, for example, seldom sits longer than a day or two on the New Books stand and can be out on loan again as soon as it is returned. Some titles never seem to make it back to the shelves and can be out several times per month, on reserve even before they hit the returns chute.

Books can’t last forever and those that have been dearly loved will fall into disrepair. While staff will do minor repairs on popular items, there is always a time in any book’s life that we must remove it from the collection. Old items that are damaged or outdated may end up on our Friends of Library sale trolley, or donated to nursing homes and community facilities. Many of the library’s pre-loved children’s books are often available at Pop-up Library events for children to take home. While it is sometimes sad to farewell a favourite title, the good news is, we can often re-order it through BlueCloud and if not, replace it with an equally great new read.