Westgate Middle School

Library Media Center Cataloging Policy Manual


This cataloging policy manual is intended for use in the fictional Westgate Middle School Library Media Center, located in Columbus, Ohio.

Mission Statement

The Westgate Middle School Library Media Center serves a diverse student population of 500 students in grades 6 through 8. The mission of the LMC is to support curriculum and instruction, promote information literacy, encourage a lifelong love of reading and learning, and provide resources and materials to support the academic and learning goals of Westgate Middle School.


This cataloging manual has been created as a resource for the Westgate Middle School Library Media Center staff and volunteers. Successful implementation of the guidelines and policies set forth in this manual will result in a consistent approach to the description and organization of school library resources and improvement in student access to information.

Setting Description

The Westgate Middle School Library Media Center includes a collection of 7,500 books and audio-visual materials, 10 periodicals, and 2 newspaper subscriptions. The 1,200 square foot, centrally located media center includes six computers with Internet access that are available for patron use, with one additional computer dedicated to catalog searching.

An instructional area within the LMC has long tables with enough seating for 25 students. Additional chairs are available to accommodate a larger class. A Smartboard is located within the instructional area. The LMC also has a set of 15 iPads available for use inside the library, kept in a secure cabinet in the media specialist’s area. Teachers may reserve televisions (6), dvd players (6), overhead projectors (4), digital cameras (2), digital video cameras (2), and one portable Smart Board. A color printer, scanner, and 2 copy machines are available for staff and supervised students to use. The LMC is open during school hours and will remain open for 30 minutes before and after school to allow students and faculty the opportunity to browse the collection.

The library is automated through the SirsiDynix system and utilizes INFOhio's databases and services. All of the computers have both InfOhio Cat and InfOhio Cat Jr. on their desktop to facilitate catalog searching for learners of different reading/technology ability levels.

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Collection Description

The Westgate Middle School LMC acquires the following materials:
  • Books (nonfiction, fiction, reference, and biographies)
  • Audio/Visual materials (audio books, DVDs)
  • Ebooks
  • Picture books
  • Graphic novels
  • Periodicals
  • Online Reference
  • Professional resources
  • Equipment


All books and non-current periodicals in the media center circulate to students for a period of one week, unless otherwise noted.

The following materials circulate only to teachers:

  • Ÿ Picture books
  • Ÿ Audio-visual materials
  • Ÿ Professional and curriculum resources
  • Ÿ Class book sets
  • Ÿ Class periodical sets
  • Ÿ Non-current newspapers
Non-circulating materials include the following:
  • Ÿ Encyclopedias
  • Ÿ Dictionaries
  • Ÿ Specified atlases
  • Ÿ General reference books
  • Ÿ Current newspapers

Students may only use picture books in the media center.

Acquisition of Materials

The Westside Middle School media specialist is responsible for the acquisition of all materials for the LMC. Materials that enrich and support the school curriculum and academic learning goals will be chosen, as well as resources that support the educational, emotional, and recreational needs of the users. All materials selected must be appropriate for the developmental needs of the students at Westgate Middle School. A variety of formats will be collected to support different learning styles and meet the needs of differently-abled learners.

Materials shall represent a wide array of social and ethnic perspectives, so as to better reflect the experiences of the diverse student population. Maintaining a balanced collection will encourage users to explore their own attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, and ultimately benefit from exposure to diverse perspectives.

Materials will be chosen based on personal examination by the media specialist whenever possible. Other factors in selection will include teacher and student requests and recommendations, award and notable lists, and reviews from major reviewing sources, such as School Library Journal and Booklist.

A purchase order is required for any desired materials.

All library materials must be cataloged to facilitate student and faculty access.

Vendor Processing Specifications


  • Mylar covers on dust jackets
  • Place 2.5 mil thick label protectors over exposed spine labels and barcode labels.
  • Place the bar code on the top right corner of the outside back cover, facing toward the spine.
  • Provide one spine label per book attached 1 inch from bottom edge of spine.

Vendors must adhere to designated 13-digit barcode ranges.

A range of dummy barcodes will be used by the LMC for other acquired materials, including Audio-visual items and equipment.


Procedure for Books That Arrive With Processing

  • Verify with the packing slip.
  • Process in the order received, within 3 weeks.
  • Cover with laminate.
  • Stamp with the Westside Middle School Library Media Center, 74 Westmoor Way, Columbus, OH 43204 property stamp on the Title page, top, and sides of the pages of the book.
  • Ensure the barcode is affixed to the upper left-hand corner of the back of the book for easy scanning during inventory.
  • Affix clear protective label to the barcode and spine label stickers.
  • Write the Dewey Decimal Number and barcode number in the upper right-hand corner of first page of the book.
  • Upload MARC record into system and connected to the existing MARC record.

Procedure for Books That Arrive Without Processing

Books that arrive without processing should be processed by the media specialist or library aide.

  • Attach a barcode to the top right corner of the outside back cover, facing toward the spine.
  • Attach a spine label that includes the Call Number, Dewey Decimal Number, and first three letters of the author's name as noted in the Classification section in this manual.
  • Cover the spine label and barcode with a clear protective label.
  • Cover paperback books with clear contact paper for protection.
  • Tape a piece of scotch tape at the upper and lower edges of the the hard cover jacket inside the first page to secure the jacket.

Genre Stickers

Genre stickers will be affixed to items in the following genres:

  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Poetry
  • Biography
  • Graphic Novels
  • Award and Honor books

Introduction into the Collection

New materials will be displayed within their content areas. Selected new items of all formats will be placed on the New Arrivals shelf near the circulation desk, at the discretion of the media specialist or other designated staff.

A list of new materials will be emailed to the faculty monthly.

Subject Headings

All catalog records must include at least 3 subject headings.
  • First Source: Sears Subject Headings List
  • Second Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings List

Standards Cataloging

Standards of Cataloging

  • Level 2 cataloging will be used.
  • All cataloging will follow the AACR2 standards.
  • Subject headings will be drawn from the Sears Subject Headings list and then the Library of Congress Subject Headings list.
  • MARC records will be purchased whenever possible.
  • The Sirsi automation system will be used for all cataloging.
  • The media specialist will complete all cataloging.

MARC Record Tags

All MARC records should include the following information:

020: ISBN

082: Dewey Number

1xx or 7xx: Statement of Responsibility

245: Title (245)

250: Edition (250)

260: Publication (260)

3xx: Physical Description (3xx's)

4xx: Series (4xx's)


520: Summary

521: Target Audience Note

526: Study Program Information Note

538: System Requirements (if necessary)

586: Awards Note

65x: Subject Heading

658: Academic Content Standards-required for all curriculum materials and periodical sets.

Pre-processed Materials

Materials that arrive pre-processed will have the MARC records uploaded to the system by the media specialist.

Copy Cataloging

Records will be taken from shared catalogs on SIRSI (SmartPort) when possible, specifically from records in SuperMARC format. For copy cataloging, use the following systems in order:

  • InfOhio
  • LOC
  • Cat Express from OCLC-All record purchases from OCLC will be recorded in a spreadsheet.

All copied records will be checked for accuracy. This includes checking the information in the record with the CIP data (if available) from the material itself, and using INFOhio’s Guidelines for matching records. The media specialist will review and enhance all copied records as needed.

Original Cataloging

If no record of the item is found in any of the above mentioned systems, the media specialist will create an original record following the outlined standards of cataloging using the MarcMagician software.

Classification Details


The Dewey Decimal classification system will be used to classify all nonfiction materials, including reference materials. No more than six digits will be used on the spine label (3 decimal places) (i.e. 201.358). Call numbers will include letters from the alphabet to represent the collection to which it belongs and will be uppercase, (i.e. FIC for fiction). Whenever there is a duplication of a number or author, the material will be filed alphabetically according to the title of the book. No full records will be maintained for periodicals.


  • Two lines on the spine label: FIC on the top line and the first three letters of the author’s name on the second line (i.e. GRE for GREEN).
  • Filed alphabetically by author’s last name.

Paperback Fiction

Paperback novels are housed on spinners, and categorized by series or genre.
  • Spine labels consist of two to three lines: 1. PBK, and 2. An abbreviation of the book’s genre (MYS, SCIFI, FNTSY, HISTF, FIC) OR SER for series fiction. If the book is part of a series, a third line contains an abbreviated version of the series title.


  • Two lines on the spine label: The Dewey Decimal number on the top line and the first three letters of the author’s name on the second line.
  • Filed chronologically, then by author’s last name.


  • The spine label will consist of three lines: REF will be on the top line, the Dewey Decimal number on the second line and the first three letters of the author’s last name on the third line.
  • When there is a duplication of number and/or author’s name the book is filed alphabetically according to the title of the book.
  • Reference items will be filed according to type of material (i.e. dictionary, atlas, almanac) and will not be circulated.


  • Biographies will be filed alphabetically by the subject’s name, not the author’s.
  • Three lines on the spine label: BIO on the first line, the first three letters of the subject’s name on the second line, and a Cutter number of the subject's surname for shelving purposes.


  • Follows the same filing protocol mentioned above for Non-fiction books. The difference will be that a “Q” will be used on the first line to denote that it is an oversized book. The Dewey Decimal number will be noted on the second line and the first three letters of the author’s last name will be on the third line (i.e. Q, 624.74, GRO).

Audio/Visual Materials

  • Spine label will consist of three lines: 1. CD, 2. FIC for fiction or Dewey number if item is nonfiction, 3. First 3 letters of the main entry in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.
Digital Sound Recording (Playaway)
  • Fiction and nonfiction: Provide DSR letter designation followed by the cutter consisting of the first three letters of the main entry in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.


  • Biography: Provide DVD letter designation, followed by B for an individual biography, cuttered by the first three letters of the subject’s last name in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.
  • Fiction: Provide DVD letter designation, followed by FIC for fiction, cuttered by first three letters of the main entry in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.
  • Nonfiction: Provide DVD letter designation. Classify according to Dewey, cuttered by first three letters of the main entry in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.

Audio/visual materials are for teacher use only. Audio/visual materials will be filed in the secure media specialist room that is only available to students under supervision and is locked at night.

See chart below for example A/V spine labels.

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  • The call # prefix "EBOOK" will be used for all online electronic books. Ebooks will also be assigned a barcode number. All ebook catalog records will adhere to the catalog standards described in this manual.

Picture books

  • Spine label consists of two lines: 1. PICT, and 2. A three to four letter abbreviation of the author’s last name.
  • Picture books are shelved alphabetically by author’s last name. Picture books circulate to teachers but not students.

Graphic Novels

  • Two lines on spine label: GRPHC on the first and the first three letters of the author's last name on the second.
  • Graphic novels are filed alphabetically by the author's last name in their own section.


  • Four line label: 1. PRDCL, 2. Dewey Decimal Classification not more than five digits long (two decimal places), 3. A four-to-five letter abbreviation of the title, and 4. A three-letter abbreviation of the month, and the issue year.
  • Current periodicals will be placed in clear binders and displayed alphabetically.
  • Back issues of periodicals will be housed directly under the displayed issue inside the shelving unit for up to one year (ten issues).
  • Older periodicals will be moved to the storage room and are available for circulation to teachers.

Professional Resources

  • Teacher professional development resources will be housed in the teacher resource area. Spine labels will have PRO on the first line, the Dewey Decimal number on the second line and the first three letters of the last name on the third line, (i.e. PRO, 642.23, SUN).
  • Spine labels for curriculum support materials will consist of two lines: 1. CURRIC, and 2. A subject abbreviation (LANG, SCI, SOCST, PHYS, MATH, ART, HLTH, MUS). Curriculum support materials are also housed in the teacher resource area, and are filed by subject.


Equipment is marked with particular letters according to the type of material it is (see table below) and is assigned a number based on the quantity of those items in inventory. Inventory is maintained on an Excel spreadsheet in addition to each item catalog record.

Equipment Call Numbers

DC-Digital Camera

DVD-DVD player

DVC-Digital Video Camera


OHPR-Overhead Projector




Donation Policy

The LMC does accept donations in alignment with the following guidelines:

  • All donated items become proper of the LMC upon receipt.
  • Donated items will be processed and cataloged in accordance with the policies previously set forth for new items.

Monetary Donations

Students, parents, community members, and organizations may donate money to purchase new books for the LMC collection. Donors may select a book or resource from the LMC's maintained “wish list” and donate the money to purchase that resource, or purchase the resource on their own. Resources purchased in this way will receive a sticker on the inside front cover with the donor’s name or an appropriate honorarium of his or her choosing. If the donor donates a large amount of money or chooses not to select books, needed items will be selected for purchase at the discretion of the media specialist. All monetary donations will be recorded, receipts will be given to donors, and all purchases accounted for with receipts.

Book Donations

Donated books will be reviewed in accordance with the LMC’s collection development policy. Items that meet the criteria for selection will be processed, cataloged, and added to the LMC collection. Books that do not meet the criteria for selection but are still deemed appropriate by the school librarian will be included in the yearly library book sale. Any funds collected from used book donations will be used to purchase needed materials at the discretion of the media specialist. Books that are not sold will be offered to teachers for inclusion in classroom libraries.

Outdated, offensive, or severely damaged books may be destroyed or disposed of at the media specialist’s discretion.

Review Policy

The catalog policy will be reviewed by the media specialist and LMC staff at the end of each school year (during the month of May) in accordance with district library policy updates. Changes will be submitted to the school administration and district media specialist at the start of the last week of May. Changes will be implemented at the start of the following school year. Major changes to national classification standards will be implemented in the school policy after being adopted district-wide. Changes to the existing catalog due to national standards will be implemented within six months of their adoption by the district.

Shelf Inventory Policy

At the end of each school year, inventory of all library materials will be taken using the LMC’s handheld scanner. The media specialist or a library aide may complete this process. Missing items will be marked as such and if unable to be recovered, the items will be removed from the catalog by the media specialist.

Weeding Policy

The media specialist will make decisions regarding the deselection of library materials on an as-needed basis with a minimum of once a semester. A report displaying the publication year and number of times an item has been checked out will be generated once a semester to aid is the deselection process.

Deselected items will be removed from the shelves, removed from the catalog, and set aside for inclusion the book sale or disposal at the media specialist’s discretion.

Professional Cataloging Resources

Online Resources

Library of Congress MARC Standards-guide to MARC standards.

Sears Listing of Subject Headings-first source of subject headings.

Library of Congress Authorities-second source of authorized subject headings.

Yale Library Listing of Cataloging Tools-listing of quick reference cataloging links.

Cataloger's Reference Shelf-collection of cataloging resources.

Classify-research prototype from OCLC providing support in assigning classification numbers.

InfOhio Library Staff Resource Page-mainpage for InfOhio library staff (resources require log in).

Cataloging for School Librarians

Kelsey, M. (2014). Cataloging for school librarians. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.

photo credit: Amazon.com

The School Library Media Manager

Woolls, B., Weeks, A., & Chutney, S. (2014). The school library media manager, 5th ed. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.

photo credit: Amazon.com


The media specialist is responsible for all acquisition and cataloging of library materials. Trained library aides may assist in the physical processing of new materials and shelf inventory. The media specialist is also responsible for generating all data reports using the SirsiDynix system and adding and removing items from the catalog. Per district policy, library aides may assist in patron record management when requested, however the media specialist is responsible for ensuring the addition and removal of patrons from the local system.

This approved policy manual will be shared with LMC staff and volunteers in informal training. New staff will be formally trained using this manual and the manual will be reviewed at the start of each school year. A print copy of the manual will be made available at the LMC circulation desk and digital copies will be stored on designated flash drives in the media specialist's office and the school front office.

About Your Media Specialist

My name is Mrs. Bugnitz and I am the media specialist for the fictional Westgate Middle School. I created this cataloging policy manual to demonstrate my understanding of cataloging in the school library environment. I am currently enrolled in Kent State University's graduate program in Library and Information Science with a plan to graduate in August 2015. I live in Columbus, Ohio with my husband, and two children. In my free time, I love to read and am currently training for my first powerlifting meet.