Roseburg Public Library staff and volunteers have developed a fairly seamless system to get new materials into patrons’ hands. Behind the scenes there are a lot of moving parts, and we all have key roles in the process.

First are the selectors. Youth Services Librarian Aurora Oberg develops the children’s and teen collections; Circulation Supervisor Liz Hendershott and I develop the adult collection. We scrutinize websites, trade publications and celebrity book club lists for the hottest new titles. We also analyze our current holdings, fill popular series with missing titles and take patron requests into consideration.

We primarily use two vendors for purchasing books and audiobooks — Ingram and Baker & Taylor. Within a day of submitting an order, we add the titles to the online catalog at and patrons can place holds by logging in, searching for an item and clicking the “Reserve this item” button.

Here’s a tip for viewing the newest books added to the collection: when accessing the library catalog, click the blue “What’s New” link and limit the search to materials added within the past couple of months.

Both Ingram and Baker & Taylor provide processing services, which means most of the materials arrive at the library with the ownership stamps and spine labels on the books, saving us a great deal of time. Yet there still is work to do. Staff and volunteers unpack and inventory the items. Because we all happen to love books, this is a fun and coveted task.

Two of us on staff ensure the online catalog reflects each item purchased and we have to manually type the information displayed on the spine label into the computer. This is called copy cataloging, and it’s a great challenge to maintain consistency within a catalog of more than 75,000 items.

Some items from our primary vendors (and all items from any other vendor we use) do not have the spine labels pre-attached and staff and volunteers print and apply the labels with tape.

Staff and volunteers affix a color dot to the bottom of the spine label that indicates the month and year the item was added to the library collection. This helps the shelvers know the material belongs on the “new” shelf. In most cases, items remain new for 6-9 months before the dot is removed and the material goes into the regular stacks.

Finally, we give each item a last check to ensure the barcode scans correctly and the copy cataloging is accurate. Then we convert the item to active status and it’s ready for patrons to check out.

We order materials on a regular basis and, depending on the vendors’ stock, we receive shipments within anywhere from four days to three weeks. Once items are in house, we do our best to turn them around in three business days. Our goal is to provide access to new library materials as quickly as possible.

Donations work in much the same way except we have the added task of applying a clear film to the books. Fortunately, we have a volunteer who not only enjoys the work but is adept at it. Newly purchased materials are prioritized, so we don’t turn around donations as quickly. However, they add significant value to the collection and we appreciate community members’ generosity.

Kris Wiley is the director of the Roseburg Public Library. She can be reached by phone at 541-492-7051 or by email at

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