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NYC School Librarian Guidebook: Barcodes

Resources to examine our inherent bias, promote personal awareness, and help us build collections for our students that reflect themselves and the world around them.


New York City school libraries have a standard for barcodes. When you order materials for your library, include the barcode specifications as part of the processing for your order. You will have to complete a specification form for each vendor.

Before you order barcodes, you need to know your library location code. The library location code is a four-letter code assigned to each New York City school library by the Office of Library Services. To get your school library location code, email Mohini Sookdeo at or Leanne Ellis at 

The barcode is a 14 digit, Code 39 (or Code 3 of 9), MOD 43, with a check digit. All schools are recommended to use this barcode symbology. The barcode should look like this:

Sample barcode showing the DOE's formula for assigning library barcodes.

Decoding the Barcode:

  • The type indicator is usually a 3.
  • The location code is a four-letter code you receive from the Department of Library Services.
  • Each school has its own collection code such as ZZZZ. The collection codes are generated by the Office of Library Services.
  • The item number is an eight digit range for materials, but you will need to use 9 for the sample range you give to vendors.
    • You can assign an item number range for your vendors.
    • You can assign a two-digit number for the vendor and a six-digit range for items.
      • An example would be 01 for a book vendor such as Follett with 000,001 for the first item number. The barcode range would look like 3ZZZZ010000001 to 3ZZZZ019000001.
      • Another vendor would be 02, with 000,001 for the item number. It would look like 3ZZZZ020000001 to 3ZZZZ029000001.
      • You can assign your school the highest number range of 09000001.
    • The check digit is generated by the computer.
    • Keep a list of all the item number ranges you assign to vendors.
  • Sample barcode specification forms are available below.
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