Skip links and keyboard navigation

4. Your library collections

  • Information about the library collections provided to Queensland public libraries by the State Library of Queensland - 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 Exchanges) and can be supplemented by requests (Section 6 Request service) and special collections to meet special needs (Section 8.2 Specialist services).

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) A core collection contains all or most of the following categories of stock, depending upon the age breakdown of your shire’s population.

AF: Adult fiction

Adult Fiction Spine LabelFiction books or novels are identified by main theme or genre to assist your patrons identify the type of books they might enjoy. Stickers with 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 may assist your patrons with their reading selection. A printable fiction genre guide  (PDF 150.9 KB) displayed near the books is also helpful.

The spine label displays the first four letters of the author’s surname e.g. 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 ignored when shelving.

ANF: Adult non-fiction

Adult non fiction spine labelThese books deal with many subject areas. The Dewey Scheme (Section 2.2 Dewey Decimal System) is used to classify books by subject. This keeps books on the same subject together in 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 after the decimal point if the book is about a specific 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

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.

L: Large type books

Large type books are designed for people with impaired vision. There is no restriction on who may use these books. A small number of adult non-fiction books are also available in the large type format. Most readers of large type are older readers, so consider shelving these books at an appropriate height that is easily reached. Note that newer large type books do not have a spine label and should still be shelved alphabetically by author.

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 shelved with the junior fiction 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.

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 kept in book boxes or shelved where children can see the books easily. Books should always be kept at an accessible height.

Y: Young adult fiction

Young adult fiction spine label This collection is aimed at 13-25 years.  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.

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. You need to check the stock of your 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.

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

It is important that you regularly check your collection and withdraw any items that are in poor condition or are no longer of interest to patrons. 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 patrons 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. Notify distributors of unsolicited materials you don’t want, that you wish to be removed from their mailing list.

Where it is difficult to reject donations from your patrons, the donor should be made aware of the library's donation policy. The policy should clearly state that the library may not use all donated items, some donations could be discarded, and that if added to the library collection, they will eventually be weeded.

4.2 Exchanges

RLQ libraries keep their collections refreshed by keeping items in the library requested by their patrons and exchanging a proportion of their collections 3 times per year.

4.2.1  Preparing for your exchange

Your library’s exchange will be completed by staff at Cannon Hill according to an exchange calendar that displays the week your exchange will be selected. You can also email staff to check your exchange numbers and when your exchange will be selected from Cannon Hill.

Let Cannon Hill staff know your preferences for your exchange such as genres and subjects in demand in your library as well as gaps in the collections if required.  Please submit your exchange selection form two weeks before your exchange is selected.

4.2.2  Returning your exchange

  • Please return a similar number of books to Cannon Hill a week after you receive your exchange.
  • If you do not require an exchange or there is a delay in the return of your exchange, please contact staff via email.

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.

Non-urgent returns can be included in the exchange, such as Reserve collection items.  Return audio-books separately to heavy books to minimise damage. For details of postage and courier services see Getting it there.

Do not return new books or books by popular authors that have only recently been sent to you. Display them and promote them before returning them. You can return to Cannon Hill any item that is not going out regularly, has been in your library collection too long or is otherwise not required. The exchange program provides the ideal opportunity for this.

It is important that you regularly check the collections and withdraw any items that 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 items in the exchange. However, return items to Cannon Hill that may be the last copy held in RLQ 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 Cannon Hill 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 Cannon Hill when you return your cartons, so that all cartons can be checked as received at Cannon Hill. Books cannot be returned to the system until all the cartons are received at Cannon Hill.
  • Details of postage and courier services can be found at 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 ask via the mailbox.

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 or in the Council Office.
  • Producing specialised booklists for teachers, the local fitness club etc. A table with some book stands and a sign is all you require.
Last updated
9th October 2019