Cork City

About Us

Bibliographic Services

Effective and efficient behind-the-scenes procedures are vital to the delivery of a quality library service to the public. These procedures include: the selection & purchasing of stock; the cataloguing & classification of stock; so that it can be easily retrieved; and the management of stock throughout the network of libraries in the city.

The Bibliographic Services department of Cork City Libraries is responsible for these behind-the-scenes procedures: acquisition, cataloguing, processing, and allocation of materials, as well as records maintenance for display on the online catalogue.

The work of Bibliographic Services falls into three main stages: -

  • The Acquisitions stage involves the ordering and purchasing of library material for addition to stock, including books, music recordings and scores, DVDs, videotapes, CDs and multimedia
  • The Cataloguing stage involves creating an accurate record on the library catalogue for each item added to stock, allocating a classification number based on the subject of the item, and processing it so that it is ready for use
  • Cork City Libraries' resources comprise one comprehensive collection of stock available to users throughout the network of service points; an effective stock-management mechanism — timely distribution of items to libraries, effective evaluation of stock, and the monitoring of resources generally — is essential in getting the right book (or other item) to the right person at the right time.


This involves the ordering and purchasing of library material for addition to stock, including books, music recordings and scores, DVDs, videotapes, CDs, and other multimedia. Reviews of material are done on a regular basis and publications such as The Bookseller, Books Ireland, Times Literary Supplement, New York Times Review of Books are consulted as well as daily, weekly, and Sunday newspapers, local, national and international. Publishers and writers also send catalogues and promotional material to the library. Library-patron suggestions are also welcome, and suggestion forms are available in all libraries. Speciality bookshops also alert us when items of specific interest are published, in particular, material of local interest. Popular items are ordered by way of standing order, so that the latest book by a listed bestselling author would be automatically ordered for every lending point in the system. The Music and Reference librarians order stock for their own departments which is also processed by Bibliographic Services.

Where possible, local suppliers and bookshops are used for the supply of items. Purchasing trips are also arranged for stock selection from library suppliers in Dublin and Limerick, with online ordering increasingly utilized from both Irish and British suppliers.

Before placing an order, every item is checked against the catalogue to verify if it is still needed. For popular items it is necessary to order more than one copy to meet demand. Orders may take up to a month to be delivered, although items purchased locally can arrive almost immediately.

Cataloguing and Processing of Material

Once acquired, the stock has to be registered and deducted from the library accounting module, then catalogued, classified and processed. Every item requires date labelling, identification stamps, protective covers, etc. before it can be put on public-access shelves. A catalogue record has to created, giving relevant details of the item, such as author, title, classification no., publisher, date of publication, type of format, home-library location, lending/reference type(indicating whether children's, adult, music, reference etc.) and current status of item (e.g. whether on order, newly acquired, in processing, at bindery, on the shelf, etc.).

It is the responsibility of the department to ensure accurate information for each record and to properly maintain the online catalogue data to facilitate easy searching and retrieval.

Once processed and catalogued, the item will display an "in processing" status on the catalogue, after which it will be allocated to a particular department or local library. The central Lending library and branch libraries receive a selection of new stock every two weeks, which are despatched by delivery van. Special and urgent requests are collected on a weekly basis by librarians.

Donations are also very welcome but the library reserves the right to refuse or dispose of material when deemed to be unsuitable or superfluous to requirements; limitation of shelving space is also considered.

Sinéad Feely
Executive Librarian
Bibliographic Services


Staff who work full- or part-time in Bibliographical services: Executive Librarian Sinéad Feely, Clerical Officer Marion Haussmann Keohane, A/Assistant Staff Officer Nora Dineen, Library Staff Officer Tim O'Mahony, Clerical Officer Mary Fox, and Senior Library Assistant Kate O’Callaghan