Sample Copy Textbooks in School library

Free sample copy textbooks are called specimen copies, generally distributed by publishers to schools so teachers and leadership can review them. So, many sample or specimen copies accumulate in the school library. In this article you will learn effective strategies to manage sample copy textbooks in your school library.

Sample or Specimen Copy Textbooks

If the teachers, supervisors and leadership team approve the textbook then those textbooks will be prescribed to the students for the annual academic learning.

Out of the remaining which do not get approval, are left behind in the school library and the school librarian has to find a way to manage these books and use them as a resource. This kind of collection is unique to academic libraries, especially school libraries.

How to Manage Sample Copy Textbooks in the School Library?

The sample copies of various subjects from the curriculum across the elementary section to the high school section are left over in the school library. Therefore, organizing specimen copies is an integral part of school library management.

Also read: Exploring School Library Activities

The primary purpose of the school library is to support the teaching-learning process and develop reading habits among the students. In this background, developing, promoting and circulating the educational resources and collection is important.

Before we dive into how to manage these specimen/sample copies of textbooks, let us learn how they are a valuable resource, procuring specimen copies and other related information.

Sample Copy Textbooks as a Resource

Specimen textbooks have illustrations, diagrams, maps, examples, explanations, definitions, questions and activities. These are valuable additional resources for students, teachers and parents. As these textbooks cater to the curriculum, the exercises and questions given in these textbooks are useful for practice. 

The description or explanations of topics could be used to understand the concepts. You might get some new charts or illustrations in these textbooks. Puzzles, crosswords, riddles and other activities in these textbooks are useful. So, they are educational support tools and resources.

Teachers could take inspiration from the treasure trove of content in these textbooks to enhance the teaching-learning process. While parents could support their children’s learning at home by borrowing these textbooks from the school library.

That is why managing these resources is part of school library best practices.

Also read: List of Magazines for Teenagers and Children’s Reading

Procurement of Textbook Sample Copies 

To procure sample copies, school librarians must maintain communication and good relations with textbook publishers. By contacting representatives, librarians can find out about new releases and get sample copies for review.

Once a connection is established with publishers, usually they will approach the schools with their textbooks every year and let the school keep some of their copies.

Some publishers might ask for an official request letter or email asking for specimen copies while other publishers may supply and then take a signed acknowledgement of having received copies. 

You may also have to articulate why your school needs the copies, either for review or to get supplementary resources. 

It may also happen that some publisher agents provide specimen copies for a stipulated period and then take them back. School librarians must arrange a textbook display for teachers, supervisors, and school leadership to review during this period. 

A record of these specimen copies is maintained so the same copies can be returned. Usually, specimen copies are free, however, in some cases, certain textbooks could be purchased with the library budget upon special requirement. 

Managing Specimen Copy Textbooks

Whether you have the database of your library collection in a computerised system or a manual record, you need to merge the specimen copies in your retrieval system so they can be lent out.

Cataloguing or Entering the Textbook Details in Computer System

During cataloguing in your database, provide a thorough description of the specimen copies including title, grade, subject, series, publisher and publication year. If there are an special material in the textbook, for instance, a foldable activity chart, note it in the system so that the book is distinct and can be retrieved.

This will help make these books accessible to teachers and parents according to the school library policy.

The accession number for sample copies could be separate so they are distinct from the purchased books and easy to weed out.

Also read: How to improve reading comprehension for beginner readers

How will you Shelve the Sample Copy Textbooks?

Creating dedicated sections for specimen copy textbooks can enhance their visibility and accessibility. These sections should be clearly labelled and organized by subject and grade level, making it easier for users to find the resources they need.  

Consider colour-coding the specimen copies by grade, for instance, yellow for grade 1 textbooks. Within the yellow tag textbooks, arrange them according to subjects. So, an entire shelf or row with yellow tags will have several subject labels. 

All the environmental studies textbooks with yellow tags indicating grade 1 will be together, and then the adjacent shelf will have General Knowledge textbooks with yellow tags. 

The subject code like EVS or GK and the accession number will be written on a separate white tag pasted on the textbooks.

Also read: Benefits of Reading Books

Circulation Policy for Sample Copy Textbooks

Establishing clear circulation policies for specimen copy textbooks is essential. Librarians should determine appropriate loan periods and restrictions, considering factors such as demand and the condition of the books. 

High-demand textbooks could have shorter loan periods to ensure that more teachers/parents can access them. Moreover, the policy should specify who can borrow the sample copies. 

For instance, teachers could borrow three textbooks for one month and parents could borrow one textbook for one week. 

Monitoring and Maintenance

To be useful, sample copy textbooks need to be kept up to date. Regularly inspecting the textbooks for damage, school librarians should either replace or restore them. Check and replace the tags if damaged. 

Moreover, review the demand and use of the sample copies. Weed out the unused and old textbooks or if there is any change in the syllabus. A withdrawal policy for sample copies needs to be formulated in the school library so that the collection stays current and relevant.

Also read: Ways to develop reading habit: kids, teens and adults

Promoting the Use of Textbook Samples

Librarians can interact with teachers and parents to promote the use of sample textbooks. Discussing the benefits and unique qualities of these textbooks can increase their use.

Work with Teachers

Working together, teachers can include specimen copy textbooks in the curriculum or as a resource. Librarians can assist teachers in selecting appropriate textbooks and creating strategies, including lesson plans or extra reading, to use in the classroom.

Evaluating the Use of Sample Copy Textbooks

System of Feedback

Librarians could test the use and effectiveness of this textbook collection for feedback. This will help them justify the use of space, stationary requirement, and time and effort put into maintaining this collection. 

Creating questionnaires, focus groups, and suggestion boxes are all ways librarians can get feedback from users. This feedback can show how textbooks are utilized and how learning is impacted.

Use of Statistics

You could also evaluate the use of a sample copy textbook with circulation statistics. As school librarians, you are in control of reservation and circulation data. This data could be used to acquire sample copies and positively influence the teaching-learning process. 

Online Books and Digital Collections

If publishers provide digital sample copies then librarians may have to let teachers access these on computers in the library. Digital copies are accessible, require less storage, and are easy to monitor. 

Teachers may have to log in with special library identity numbers so a record of their usage can be maintained. 

Librarians may have to collaborate with the IT experts in the school for the maintenance of the systems. Additionally, formulate a digital library policy in consultation and approval of the leadership team.

These online resources may include summaries, reviews, and availability status to assist teachers choose for curriculum or use textbooks as an additional resource.


  1. What do publishers stand to gain by giving specimen copy textbooks to schools?

By giving specimen copies to schools, publishers make their textbooks available to the school leadership team for review. This increases chances of their textbooks getting prescribed to students for learning the school curriculum.


Most schools receive sample copies of textbooks from publishers. These are then diverted to the school libraries. Some of them are selected to teach the curriculum. 

However, the number of sample copy textbooks can get overwhelming to manage in some school libraries.

After reading this article, you know how to manage the specimen copy collection and why these textbooks are a valuable resource.

This article also gave you ideas on procuring these copies, keeping their record, shelving and circulating them.


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