Avoiding damage

It is inevitable that some library resources will be damaged. Ways to avoid this include:

  • Keep the library shelves tidy – if students see respect for the facility they may also respect the library and its holdings.
  • Books shelved correctly put less strain on bindings.
  • Cover the items with plastic or contact and reinforce spines with special clear reinforcing tape.
  • Minimise loans to students who consistently return damaged items.
  • Charge users for replacement copies.

Assessing damage

If a book is damaged you need to assess the cost-effectiveness of possible repairs. Items that have undergone repairs tend to be weaker and sustain other damage easily. Some students may choose not to borrow repaired items.

Things to consider:

  • Is the item worth keeping in the collection?
  • Has the item been repaired previously?
  • How much time will the repair take?
  • Are staff available to do repairs?
  • How much will the repairs cost?
  • Do I have the expertise?

It may be cheaper to replace popular items and limit repairs to precious, rare or irreplaceable items.
Depending on the policy of the school, students may be charged for repair or replacement of damaged items. Students can be charged using the Library Management System (eg Symphony) or through the school office.


Repairs vary according to the type of damage. Libraries keep a range of glues, tapes and staples for this purpose. Specialist repair materials can be purchased from library suppliers (a list of suppliers used by Tasmanian schools is on the Processing and cataloguing page).

For instructions on repairs, keep your eye out for sessions at conferences and meetings, or consult YouTube and the links below:

School Library Guidelines – home page

Give feedback about the School Library Guidelines

Page updated 19/10/2021

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