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The Journey of a Book

by Craig Martin on 2018-10-08T14:40:00+01:00 | Comments

Hi, my name is Karen and I have worked within Learning Services for almost 4 years.  I obtained my degree in BSc Health and Wellbeing here at the University in 2014 and after graduating, I interned with the Admission / Infozone teams and 3 weeks with the Course Administrator teams. I came across to Learning Services initially for 2 days to assist with some work and an opportunity arose within the team, which I applied for, and now work full-time as a Faculty Liaison Assistant.

One of my varied roles within Learning Services is to oversee the book ordering process and liaise with librarians to ensure you have the best access to current items.

Book orders are passed onto me via the librarians who make decisions with regard to our stock, depending of the size of a cohort for relevant areas.  These orders can be generated from the helpdesk (such as missing books,) from reading lists, requests from lecturers and student suggestions. Once the librarians have made their decision, they enter their orders into an Excel spreadsheet where I will pick up the order details. This will give me the ISBN, Book title, number of copies to order, the loan of each book (i.e. long loan, short loan, reference, E-book) and the amount of each loan to order. It will also give me a cost and any instructions related to the book (e.g. if there is a reserve to be placed on the book, or it needs to be added into a reading list) This sheet can become very large and is normally defined down to the relevant schools.

So my process begins with entering our main suppliers site and locating the book, normally via the ISBN number. Once the book is found, I place the books into a virtual ‘basket’ which then generates an order form.  I have a template set up which will vary for every book order and I can adjust each time I do a new order, but each book needs an order number, a fund code, the loan type, amount of books required, servicing instructions and other details which are saved on the template. I order the books in batches so there are not huge orders being sent through in one go! The ordering process can take several hours and needs focus to ensure all the correct details are input.

Below, you can watch a short video of what happens to our book order once it reaches our supplier:

A Day in the Life of a book from Proquest

Once the order is completed, I download a sheet of the orders for me to keep and send the order off to our main book supplier. Coutts cannot always supply every book, maybe due to restrictions, or the book is out of print with their publishers. In this case, we have other suppliers we can try, but often we will then source the book from Amazon. However, unlike our main suppliers, who we pay to have our books arrive shelf ready, any items we order from Amazon are processed manually once we receive them here in the Library.  This involves stamping our University of Suffolk logo on the book, inserting security tags, adding in the loan labels and barcodes and every book needs covering to prolong shelf life. We write relevant important information into the accession box and then add the spine label ready for cataloguing and shelving.

Once an order has been placed, we record the items ordered for budgeting purposes, but that I will save for another day! So, the books will then start to arrive. Below is a small order arriving, at busy times we can receive as many as 12/13 boxes at a time.

The boxes are unpacked, checked to ensure they are all correct and the cataloguing process of each individual book can begin.

The books shelved in our offices ready for cataloguing through our system.

Once cataloguing is complete, books are moved to the main library for our staff to place them out on the shelves for you to access. 


So, as you can see, the journey of a book from order to shelf can be a long process and we strive to ensure that we keep on top of our resources, in particular ensuring we have latest up to date editions of our books. I hope you have found this blog of interest and as always, our library helpdesk staff are always on hand to answer any queries you may have.

Karen Giltjes
Faculty Liaison Assistant


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