Need spine and pocket label printer options
August 21, 2012 8:10 AM   Subscribe

The library's decades-old Okidata label printer is on its way out. How does your library print spine and pocket labels?

Like many libraries, mine is shifting to a new way to print pocket AND spine labels. I got a Zebra thermal printer (GX420t) but it does not appear to be able to print both types of labels. I have some evidence that the Zebra TLP2844 can do this, but the vendor doesn't offer any help, and my info is from blog posts and listservs from a few years ago.

How is your library generating labels? Is it all outsourced?

We are using OCLC Connexion client and Koha.
posted by Riverine to Technology (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Dymo 450 Laser, we just got it, academic library, I'm reference and so not likely to use it. We're part of a larger statewide system, someone from the main campus brought it last week and set it up.
posted by mareli at 8:17 AM on August 21, 2012

my colleagues use a brother p touch for spine labels (we don't do pocket labels any more, apparently and a lot of our books come pre-labelled by the supplier to work in our classification). I'm systems so I don't use it at all but they seem quite happy.
posted by halcyonday at 8:24 AM on August 21, 2012

How large is the library, can you call other libraries around and see what they do or go on a little scouting mission?

(long ago, in another life, i was a certified Okidata repairman, ah the memories)
posted by Cosine at 8:49 AM on August 21, 2012

We don't print pocket labels, just spine labels, but we use standard inkjet and laserjet printers so I'm sure we could easily accomodate both.

Currently we’re using a HP Officejet Pro 8000 Enterprise (inkjet) and a HP Laserjet p3005n, pretty standard printers. The sheets of labels are also pretty standard, LSL02 1” x 1 6/10” label sheets (5 columns of 10 rows, 50 per sheet). We just print whole sheets of spine labels at once, usually for a single cart of books.

They work OK, I would say the inkjet works better than the laserjet, because the label glue doesn’t get as hot so we can run partial sheets of labels through to use up all the labels if we didn’t print a full sheet the first time, whereas on the laserjet, if we don’t fill the sheet the first time, we can’t use those labels again (once upon a time, we did run partial sheets through the laserjet, and almost broke it). The inkjet does need more time to dry, so if you’re printing multiple sheets of labels, you need to catch the sheets as they come out, or the labels will smear when another sheet gets pushed out on top of it.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:52 AM on August 21, 2012

The OCLC-CAT listserv frequently has questions about spine labels, and the last flurry of emails about that was within the last few weeks. I think you may need to sign up to have access to the archives, but that's probably a good resource to get specific questions from.

(I work in an academic library, but don't work with spine labels.)
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:44 AM on August 21, 2012

I use an HP 6122 inkjet printer. I have painstakingly configured my library program to print to 5-across, 40-to-a-sheet Avery labels on it and it took days to make it work. It's not the printer, it's the frickin' program (L4U) that was a bear to configure but if that printer ever dies, I will probably stab myself. I only print spine labels on it but apparently L4U is capable of printing bar codes, too. Not going there.
posted by Lynsey at 10:48 AM on August 21, 2012

Response by poster: Cosine, I've polled regional libraries through a local listserv--only one response. My impression from ILL items is that pocket labels (and pockets) are becoming obsolete. Our library holds about 90,000 volumes; we're a smallish college library with a few university programs. Many of our practices are old-fashioned--we still keep a shelflist in Cataloging--and change is hard.

jetlagaddict, thanks, I did join OCLC-CAT and am sifting through it now.

I wish there were a dedicated library service/consulting firm for this type of research.
posted by Riverine at 2:08 PM on August 21, 2012

Inkjet printer with label sheets. One person insists on using a typewriter, which impresses me since I have no idea how to use one. I want to go back to a hot pen.
posted by fifilaru at 3:48 PM on August 21, 2012

How resistant are your resisters to fully Shelf Ready Books? Both YBP and Ingram/Coutts offer Shelf Ready that includes spine labeling and pockets. I know we get a percentage of our books this way (we don't have pockets, of course) and many smaller libraries get a fairly high percentage of their books that way.

The many books that we don't get fully Shelf Ready are processed mainly by our work study students, and I'm not sure what we use for our spine table labeling machine. I can look tomorrow if you'd like.
posted by librarylis at 8:10 PM on August 21, 2012

We don't do pockets (public library in Ireland) and we use a P touch for spine labels.
posted by Fence at 7:12 AM on August 22, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you, folks.

Those of you who do produce only spine labels, is there any particular way you keep them in order with the set of books? I am envisioning ripping each off and tucking it in the book, which is a pretty different workflow move. I could keep the cart in strict order, but people paw through it, etc. Cart = about 100 books. I could also just make my assistant open each book to see the call number written inside.
posted by Riverine at 5:29 PM on August 24, 2012

Just wanted to let you know--I checked and we use an Epson FX-890 to print our spine labels which g'help us is a dot matrix printer but it's specifically listed on Epson's website as a good replacement for an Okidata so perhaps you could ask a sales rep about it?

As far as keeping the labels in order with the books, it's really not bad (we use work study students for this entire workflow). The books are placed on the cart in chronological order (chronology of acquisition, not publication) and the student processes each date batch separately.

They do pull the call number from the inside flap and they have absolutely no problem doing that and they know to ask if they have questions (we have a lot of special locations that they can ask about if they're not familiar). Once the label is printed, the student will then glue it on (I confess I don't know too much about what glue we use for that) and proceed to the next book.

We rummage through the to-be-processed cart all the time to grab books which need rush processing and it's not a big deal (we have forms for rushing, and the rushed books are tracked very precisely to make sure that they don't get missed). If you do implement a new procedure, you might want to spot-check every ten or so books at first to see how things go.
posted by librarylis at 12:19 PM on September 4, 2012

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