Have you ever wondered how we choose what materials to buy or do you just trust in the magic of books, DVDs, and more appearing on the library shelves? Either way is fine, but if you’re curious about the process read on! Each of our librarians is in charge of at least one collection for the library. I currently purchase the Young Adult Fiction, LDS Fiction, and LDS Nonfiction books. In the past I’ve purchased for the 100’s (philosophy and psychology), 200’s (religion), 600’s (technology and applied science), Biographies, General Fiction, and Hot Young Adult Fiction (super popular titles).
For the most part we use review journals to help us in the selection of items. Review Journals are magazines that compile reviews for books and media. The reviews are written by people who have evaluated the item in its entirety and then give their opinion about the item. If you are interested in becoming a reviewer, you submit an application and then wait to hear if you have been accepted or not. For example, I found the application form for Library Journal very interesting in regards to what they are looking for. We also take purchase suggestions, so if you are looking for something we do not currently own, fill out this short form to let us know. Librarians select titles from our various vendors or purchase things locally, particularly for LDS titles. After adding the titles to the weekly purchase order and making sure it is being ordered from the correct collection budget the librarian’s job is complete.
Next, our Technical Services staff submits the order and we wait until the item is shipped to the library. Once the items have shipped to us, the packing slips are checked to be sure that what we have ordered is in the box. The barcode is then attached to the item so that it can be tracked through the rest of the process.
At this point the item goes down one of two paths. If we don’t already have a copy of the item it is sent to the cataloger. The cataloger will then either download the bibliographic record from another library or create one from scratch. The bibliographic record lists the title, author, genre, and subject headings. It also lists information about the item like the ISBN, number of pages, length of DVD, publisher, etc.
Once the cataloging is done, or if we already own a copy of the item and this is an additional copy, the item is sent on for processing. This is where the item is given a call number so you can find it on the shelf. This is also the time for the item to get all of its stamps and stickers. Books receive a plastic cover to make sure it lasts through the many times it will be checked out. On average it takes about two weeks for an item to go through the process of receiving, cataloging, and processing. If there is already another copy in the library, the item is on the shelf within a few days. Anything that is ordered as hot (remember that’s the super popular stuff) is expedited and is on the shelf the day after it is received or on the release day.
Lastly, the item is checked in ready to fulfill a hold or be put on the shelf! Happy reading, everyone!