Lakewood Public Library

Outsource new title processing to get books in hands faster

Library patron browsing in Lakewood Public Library

"[With] OCLC’s third-party cataloging [and record processing program], …our vendors get our WorldCat bibliographic records for us and update holdings. … They really do the tedious part of this job for us, so our ordering processes really become like one-stop shopping."

Suzanne Weber
Manager of Public Services, Lakewood Public Library

Lakewood Public Library staff process upwards of 4,000 new titles each month without an acquisitions module in their ILS and without any dedicated technical services staff. It helps that their main vendors handle most of the preprocessing work for their orders so that items arrive shelf-ready. In addition, all staff are cross-trained to support technical services. As Lakewood’s Manager of Public Services, Suzanne Weber, explained, “We may have staff that are working at our drive-through window in the morning and then processing new books in the afternoon.”

Years ago, library staff did most of the processing themselves. “It was definitely a more intense process,” Suzanne said. “You had to be really vigilant about creating [records for] those on-order items. And then processing new materials, you had to know really how to read the MARC record, how to create a call number, how to make spine labels.” But facing budget cuts, the library was forced to lay off seasoned staff who excelled at this work. And a new library director asked Suzanne to have new materials on the shelves within 24 hours. That felt impossible, until she evaluated the existing process and turned to OCLC’s Third Party Cataloging and Record Processing program for help.

“Our 24-hour turnaround time has been achieved. …And that is all because our vendors are able to get the bibliographic records for us and do all the preprocessing for our orders.”

Once a month, Lakewood library staff place large orders, primarily with Ingram Library Services and Midwest Tape, and download the brief vendor records. From there, Ingram and Midwest update and, as Suzanne explained, “download the bibliographic records for all the titles that were in our order, and they pull them into their system. …They update all of our holdings [in WorldCat®] for us.” When the order is ready to ship, Suzanne gets an email alert that her new, high-quality WorldCat records are ready. “We export these batch files. Most of the full records will overlay the brief records,” she said. Having their holdings updated in WorldCat not only makes it easier for Lakewood patrons to find new material, but it also helps other libraries find items to request through interlibrary loan.

“Something like this, start to finish in the past, maybe would have taken five or so minutes [per record]. It takes less than two minutes now to process,” Suzanne said. That time really adds up over 4,000 titles every month, to about 2,400 hours each year. Thanks to the partnership with OCLC, and because “Ingram and/or Midwest is doing this for us, these books are coming in ready to go out on the shelf,” she said. “The ease of processing new materials means that more staff can be trained. …And what is really nice for me is that some of my more experienced staff are perfectly happy doing this while working at a service desk. …They'll grab a truck of books and process them while working at a service desk.” Lakewood Public Library now gets new arrivals into patrons’ hands more quickly with less staff thanks to OCLC’s partnerships.


  • Lakewood, Ohio, United States

Library at a glance

  • Opened in 1916 with 10,000 books; now offers 650,000 resources that “reveal a grand Lakewood conversation taking place between generations, backgrounds, and worldviews”
  • Features public art, including sculptures, photographs, and murals, designed to inspire a peaceful, contemplative, and creative atmosphere
  • Includes The Librainium, an interactive, pre-literacy learning installation, in each location

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