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4. Your library collections

  • Information about the library collections provided to Queensland public library staff by SLQ Public Library Development of State Library - part of the Manual for Rural Libraries Queensland (RLQ) libraries.

Table of contents:

4 What's included?

When your library joins RLQ, you are sent a core collection equal to at least one book per person living in your shire. This collection is exchanged regularly (Section 4.2) and can be supplemented by requests (Section 6) and special collections to meet special needs (Section 8.2).

What is a core collection?

A core collection contains all or most of the following categories of stock, depending upon the age breakdown of your shire’s population (Section 4.2) and your local needs. A core collection includes adult non-fiction, adult fiction, large type books, picture books, junior fiction, junior non-fiction, young adult fiction and DVDs.

ANF: Adult non-fiction

Adult non fiction spine labelThese books deal with many subject areas. The Dewey Decimal Classification Scheme (Section 2.2) is used to classify books by subject. This ensures that books on a particular subject are all brought together into one location on the shelf.

e.g.: 635 is the number for GARDENING. All books on the subject will carry this number, with further numbers added if the book is about a particular aspect of gardening.

The classification number is followed on the spine label by the first four letters of the author’s surname.

Adult non-fiction books should be shelved first in number order and then alphabetically by the four letters, e.g.

636 COAL before
636.5 COAL before
636.5 DENT before
636.509 ALBI before
636.51 DION before
636.6 SMIT before

AF: Adult fiction

Adult Fiction Spine LabelFiction books or novels are classified into different categories in order to assist your readers to identify the type of books they might enjoy. Identifying symbols added to the book spine, such as a hat for Westerns, a gun for Mysteries, a dragon for fantasy and a family group for Saga assist users with their reading selection. A printable fiction genre guide displayed near the books is also helpful.

The first four letters of the author’s surname is on the spine label eg. ROBE - in this case refers to the author ROBERTS.

Adult fiction books should be shelved alphabetically first by author’s surname, then by author’s given name, then title.

(1) Surname shelving
e.g. CONDON before
COOKSON

(2) Given name shelving
e.g. SMITH, Dodie before
SMITH, Wilbur

(3) Title shelving
e.g. SMITH, Wilbur. A falcon flies before
SMITH, Wilbur. Gold mine

Note that "a", "the", and "an" at the beginning of a title is always ignored.

L: Large type books

Large type books are designed for people with a visual disability although there is no restriction on who may use these books. A small number of adult non-fiction books are also supplied in the large type format. As the majority of readers in this category are older readers, it is advisable to shelve these books at an appropriate height that is easily reached. Newer large type books do not have a spine label.

PIC: Picture books

Picture books spine labelPicture books are stories told using text and pictures that are suitable for young and older children (0 - 12 years of age). Concept, novelty and wordless picture books are purchased as part of the picture book collection.

These books only show the first letter of the author's name on the front left hand corner of the front cover.

Picture books are best in book boxes or shelving which allows children to see the books easily. Books should always be kept at an accessible height.

J: Junior fiction

Junior fiction stories are suitable for children from beginning reading through to about twelve years of age.

Junior fiction books are shelved alphabetically by author’s surname.  A collection of beginner readers can be inter shelved or kept in a separate sequence.

J: Junior non-fiction

Junior non-fiction information books reflect young people's leisure interests.

Junior non-fiction books are shelved in classification number order and then alphabetically by the four letters on the spine label.

Y: Young adult fiction

Young adult fiction spine label This collection is aimed at 13-25 year olds.  The collection reflects contemporary reading options for teenagers, including popular television tie-ins and teenage fiction series.

Young adult fiction books are shelved alphabetically by author's surname and depending on demand may be inter shelved with adult fiction.

D: Adult DVD, DJ: junior DVD

All libraries have a collection of DVDs reflecting popular interests.
Movies no longer have Dewey numbers on the spine and may be shelved alphabetically by title.

4.1 Weeding the library collection

First and foremost, the stock of your library should be maintained in good condition and should look attractive and inviting to library users. All librarians need to check the stock of their library regularly, removing unused, tatty or dirty stock from the shelves. Use the “MUSTIE” criteria to weed your collection:

M = Misleading and/or factually inaccurate information
U = Ugly and worn out or damaged beyond repair
S = Superseded by a new edition of the same title or by a much better item on the same subject
T = Trivial or of no discernible merit
I = Your library has no use for this item. It is irrelevant to the needs or interests of your community.
E = The material or information may be obtained elsewhere through interlibrary loan, reciprocal   borrowing, or in electronic format.

The librarian can return to SLQ Public Library Development any item that is not being used, has been in your library too long or is otherwise not required. The three monthly exchange program provides the ideal opportunity for this. Return items to SLQ Public Library Development that may be last copy and out of print, especially Australiana, so they may be added to the reserve collections.

It is important that the librarian regularly checks the stock and withdraws any items which are in poor condition or are no longer of interest to users. A good rule is to discard items more than 5 years old that have not circulated for 3 years. Shelves weeded of this material will not only optimise space but will enable library users to find newer more popular titles.

Step by step guide to weeding library collections ( 6.55 MB PPT)

4.1.2  Donations

Most libraries receive donated pamphlet material. Discard irrelevant material, placing only material in your library that will satisfy the needs of library users, e.g. information which answers "what, who, when, where, why" questions (statistics, facts and figures). Pamphlet material needs to be weeded regularly so discard out-of-date material.

Items donated to the library by members of the public should be critically assessed. Since it is unfortunately true that some unsolicited donations are of little real interest or value to the library, it is usually better to discourage donations. Where it is difficult to reject donations, the donor should be made aware of the library's donation policy. The library may not use all unsolicited items, some donations could be discarded, and that if added to the library collection, they will eventually be weeded. Notify distributors of unsolicited materials you don’t want, that you wish to be removed from their mailing list.

4.2 Exchanges

RLQ libraries keep the collections refreshed by retaining requested items and exchanging a proportion of their collections every 3 months.

4.2.1  Preparing for your exchange

Your library’s exchange will be completed by SLQ Public Library Development staff according to an exchange calendar that displays the week your exchange will be selected. You can also email pls@slq.qld.gov.au or phone SLQ Public Library Development (1800 017114) to check your exchange numbers and the week your exchange is to be selected at SLQ Public Library Development.

Prior to each exchange you will be contacted by a SLQ Public Library Development staff member who is in charge of your exchange. Be ready to discuss the genres and subjects in demand in your library as well as gaps in the collections if required.  Submit your exchange selection form the week before your exchange is to be selected at PLD.

4.2.2  Returning your exchange

Plan to select your exchange the week after your new exchange is being selected at SLQ Public Library Development. Return it to Cannon Hill as soon as possible. If you do not require an exchange or there is a delay in the return of your exchange, please contact SLQ Public Library Development by email pld@slq.qld.gov.au or phone 1800 017114.

4.2.3 Selecting items to return

  1. Damaged items - include all books that are damaged or beginning to look old and worn
  2. Unpopular or older items - check how often a book has been issued and how long you have had it in your library in order to decide whether to return it
  3. Superseded titles - new titles cover the same subject
  4. Read out - everyone who wanted to read it, has read it
  5. Duplicate titles.
  6. Non-urgent returns can be included in the exchange, such as Reserve collection items.  Any item can be included except audio-books that are returned with a specific label. See Getting it there .

Do not return new books or books by popular authors that have only recently been sent to you.
The librarian can return to SLQ Public Library Development any item which is not going out regularly, has been in your library collection too long or is otherwise not required. The three monthly exchange program provides the ideal opportunity for this.

It is important that the librarian regularly checks the stock and withdraws any items which are in poor condition or are no longer of interest to users. A good rule is to discard items more than 5 years old that have not circulated for 3 years. Shelves weeded of this material will not only optimise space but will enable library users to find newer more popular titles.

4.2.4  Returning damaged items

Damaged items may be weeded and disposed of locally instead of returning the item in the exchange. However, return items to SLQ Public Library Development that may be last copy and out of print, especially Australiana, so they may be added to the reserve collections.

4.2.5  Packing items to return

  • Keep cardboard boxes sent to you from SLQ Public Library Development for your return exchanges. Pack carefully, ensuring that books are not twisted or damaged. Do not overfill boxes. Include a piece of protective cardboard on top of the books before sealing the box.
  • The boxes you return should be labelled clearly.
  • It is important that the Checklist for the return of Aurora exchanges is completed and sent to SLQ Public Library Development when you return your cartons, so that we can keep a check that all cartons are received at SLQ Public Library Development. Books cannot be returned to the system until all the cartons are received at SLQ Public Library Development.
  • Details of postal accounts and printable postage labels are in Getting it there
  • Clearly label and number (e.g. 1/8, 2/8, 3/8 etc.) exchange boxes.
  • Return your exchange in one consignment.
  • If you require extra boxes please contact SLQ Public Library Development via the mailbox, pld@slq.qld.gov.au or by phone 1800 017114.

4.2.6  Promoting your new exchange

Receiving an exchange is a useful promotional tool. Consider:

  • Publicising newly arrived titles in your local paper and newsletters, as well as in social media.
  • Letting your borrowers know that an exchange is due.
  • Choosing ten or more titles you think will interest borrowers and produce a booklist of new titles in the library. This list could be left on community notice boards, in the Council Office etc.
  • Producing specialised booklists for teachers, the local pottery club etc. A table with some book stands and a sign is all you require.
Last updated
15th June 2016