"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Libraries 101---Stickers

Libraries 101 is a new feature at My Head is Full of Books where librarians and library-goers can talk about issues near and dear---books and bookish related topics specific to libraries.

Today's topic is stickers on books, such as barcodes, due date stickers, and spine labels.

I became a school librarian seven years ago.  I opened a new school and its library.  I was not, however, the person that chose the opening day collection or made the decisions about the placement of barcode labels. Nor did I select the type of books predominately selected for this collection, paperbacks with special hard covers to extend their shelf life. While I like these types of books, what I don't like is that the information about the book is on the back because they don't have a jacket flap. The placement of the barcode label can then obscure the book info.  Students complain that they have no idea what the book is about which makes selection of this particular title less than likely. See the photo below for three examples of labels that do this.

Barcode labels, due date labels, and spine labels all obscure the information on the back of the book on these Permabound-type books.

The problem with extra stickers isn't as profound on hardcover books since the book info is on the book-flap inside the front cover, but they do make the books look more junky and, in some cases, obscure some of the book info.  See examples below.

For the past few months whenever I have a few free hours, I've been attempting to remedy my sticker problem by slowly removing the due date stickers on the back and replacing them with due date sheets which are glued inside the book.

Several students have commented how much better they like this type of due date label.  They say it is easier to figure out when the book is due and it looks less messy on the back of the book.

In addition I am slowly removing the AR labels that are above the spine labels.  The gal that selected the opening collection thought that high school students would want to participate in Accelerated Readers activities.  They don't.  The AR stickers on the spines confuse kids who are searching for a particular book. I am also moving all barcode labels to some place on the back of the book that doesn't obscure any information.  This a huge job and it will probably take me a few years to finish.

Words to the wise---If I could do it again, I would avoid as many stickers as possible on my books and the placement of the barcodes would vary according to the information already published on the book. 

Librarians and library-goers what are your thoughts about stickers on library books?


  1. That's a very retro Date Due sticker-wow! I love it though. I've been frustrated by stickers obscuring what I want to find out about the book. Great idea!!

  2. How fun to get to open the school and the library! Although, it would have been even more exciting to pick out the opening day collection :) At least you're finding a way to fix things up to match your own systems!

  3. I agree. Stickers are a problem. We put our barcodes and due dates on the inside of the book. Yes, it makes it difficult to do inventory...but the only stickers on the outside are the spine label (and a spine sticker if it's an Abe Lincoln Award nominated book.) We put "new" stickers on the spine too, but eventually remove them.

    I've seen pictures on blogs of library books with the barcodes slapped right across the picture or title on the front of the book. I was appalled....

    Good luck with your project...sound a bit tedious.

    1. Inventory must be the pits if you have to open every book to do it. But now inventory will be more difficult for me, too as the barcode label will be in so many different spots on the back cover. I guess there is no perfect situation.

  4. My local library doesn't have due date stickers or cards, it's all electronic. This cuts down on the stickers to the books. There are electronic tags, but they are usually inside the back cover. The books usually have barcode stickers, but they are usually placed over the cover barcode. This is convenient for not hiding the writing, but ruins the ability to scan using a smartphone (i.e. for the Goodreads app).

    Personally, I like as few stickers as possible, but I can see the need for them. It is appreciated when the sticker-placers take into consideration what parts of the covers the readers will be looking at.

  5. There is no good place to put these stickers, either. It's hard for my babies in my primary school library because they often can't even read the title because of the stickers!

    And that is sometimes the only thing my babies can read!

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    1. I am distracted by genre stickers on books at public libraries especially if I don't agree with the genre selection. I use post-it notes, and book marks to identify new books and books in a series.

  6. I've noticed this at some public libraries, and it is definitely frustrating when the barcode is covering some sort of important info.

    The library I go to most often however has the best sticker placement IMHO: the barcode goes on the inside front cover. If it's paperback, it sticks directly to the inside cover and if it's a hardcover it goes near the bottom of the inside front flap, where there's not much writing. It's a good uniform place, plus the stickers last longer because there's not as much wear and tear on the inside of the covers.

    Also I like the look of the due date sticker, but isn't that going to be problematic once the sticker is filled up? You'd have to keep pasting new stickers over it. Wouldn't pasting one of those little envelopes with a replaceable due date card inside be less damaging?

    1. I think there is something like 40 spots for check out on the due date page. If we one of those sheets filled up I'm pretty sure the book will be in shreds, ready to be retired from so many circulations. Otherwise, we can cut it off and place a new one on top of the small remainder on the book (it is only attached at the top.)


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