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There’s so much more to donating a book to the library than you think….

by Kay Richards on 2018-12-13T13:00:00+00:00 | Comments


When I first started working in the Library and Learning Services team I had no idea about how books were ordered, processed and made shelf available.  During the last year I have become more involved in book processing and I was given a specific project to process any donated books.

So here is an overview of what happens to these donated book…..

To donate or not to donate that is the question???

Within the department we get a substantial amount of enquiries “Would you like some books?” directly from external organisations, the general public, staff, students and even famous artists.

Whilst we would like to accept them all, we do adopt a careful selection process implemented by our subject librarians before they normally reach the building.  We do not accept books left at the Library helpdesk or the main Waterfront Building. Please always contact us first!

I know it seems crazy refusing free books, but I have come to realise we don’t have room, the quality and age of the publication is important and the book needs to be relevant to our courses and the resources required.

Once the selected books reach the department myself and a team of colleagues have to get them shelf ready.

Getting the books shelf ready

  • A subject librarian will allocate the Dewey classification number.
  • The books need to be covered in plastic protective material.
  • Stamps are applied which identify the book to our library.
  • Accession number bar code, which is specific to that publication and a security tag.
  • A sticker applied inside the book identifying how long the book can be on loaned for.
  • A label is added to the spine of the book identifying the number.



The book is now ready to be catalogued 

This process again requires a member of staff to add information to the library catalogue retrieving information from the British Library.  Once all the information has been checked and the book has a record of “donation”, security is activated and we make it available for loan on the shelf.

Final thoughts

So if you consider donating a book or books to us in the future, please do enquire via email at or give us a call on 01473 387000.  We do have a rigorous selection process so please don’t be upset if we say no.

If we are unable to accept your kind offer of free books, perhaps you might consider donating these to a local or national registered charity.

If you would like to know more about our services offered please visit our webpage

Jayne Hammond

Faculty Liaison Assistant

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