A Glimpse into Marking and Binding at ISU Library

Written by Jim Wilcox.

The September 27th  monograph  side of the bindery shipment.

The monographs are ready to go down to the loading dock to be packed, along with one Marking truck that stays in-house.  It’s a bit of a smaller shipment than normal, with only 354 monographs going out in this one.  They are all sorted according to binding type:

  • M1, adhesive-bound  to receive Grade F Buckram covers
  • M2, sewn bindings
  • M3, Digicovers (the biggest part of the shipment, taking 2 trucks)
  • M3b, Digicovers with special instructions (mostly “Case Flush Bottom”  but  some “Bind in Loose Page”)
  • MR, items to be recased (which have been sent to Preservation from the Circulation desk)

All of the Digicovers have had the call number labels applied to the spine before going off to the bindery, along with the barcodes moved to the outside cover near the lower right. The reason for moving the barcode to the outside is that the catalogers place a piggyback barcode in the upper right corner on the inside of the back cover.

The September 6th shipment that came back from the bindery on the 27th.

The items are all unpacked from the shipping bins and sorted according to type.  They’re now waiting to be checked in to make sure everything came back and is bound correctly.  Also, location streamers and and giftplates need to be reunited with the books before going down to Circulation. Once checked in, the items will be stamped with the ISU stamps and the barcodes will be moved to the inside of the back covers, except for the Digicovers, which will need to have a duplicate barcode made to go on the inside since the original is now a permanent part of the cover.

Meanwhile, items on the Marking trucks are waiting to have the spine labels applied, the head edge stamped with “Iowa State University Library,” the inside the front cover stamped with a different ISU stamp, and the tattle tape inserted into the spine.  On the shelves behind the marking trucks, books that came too late to be included in the September 27th shipment have been sorted and are awaiting processing for the October 18th shipment.


  1. Hi Jim, welcome to the blogosphere. Question: what is the staffing like in your unit? how many full/part time staff, student assistants, etc.? And can you tell me the annual average number of items you send to the bindery? I’m always curious how our program matches up with others. Thanks!

    1. Just to clarify, there are 3 FTE staff and 0.6 FTE students in Preservation Services. Jim (full-time) plus a 0.2 FTE student prepare monographs for binding, quality control and check-in the entire bindery shipment, and shelf prep new materials (create and apply call number labels, insert security devices, and provide property stamps). Overall, Preservation Services handles all library binding (13,778 total vols. in FY ’12), shelving new journal issues and pulling for binding, shelf prep, preservation reformatting, digital conversion projects, mass deacidification, and custom box ordering.

  2. Right now it’s 1 full time and 1 student about 5 hours a week. at one time I had enough students to equal 1 1/2 additional full time staff members. This one will probably be the last. Monograph going to the bindery in 2009, 9997. 2010 was 8309. 2011 saw 8731 and so far this year 6306. The hardcover books for the same period for marking 16,248, 8483,7071, and so far 5591

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