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Samoa House Library is currently a browsing library, meaning that all books are kept in-house. We’ll do our very best to keep track of your donated books and treat them with love, but as a team with library experience, we know that library books can get lost or damaged. When you donate books to SHL, either permanently or under special conditions, you accept this risk.


All General books will be catalogued, with a stamp or sticker on the spine and a bookplate on the inside cover. SHL’s initial cataloging technique will be different from a normal library, in that the collection will be catalogued by the name of the donor, rather than by Dewey decimal. Patrons will be able to digitally search for a book and will be directed to the donor’s section. We think this method is reflective of the community and SHL’s origins, and in the future we hope to open the collection up to new ways of thinking about cataloging and ordering knowledge.


Though we prefer permanent donations, we also want to provide a collection of the best possible quality, so if you have something very special that you’d like to contribute, but don’t want to part with it forever, we can coordinate a loan with special conditions. If you wish to make a loan of a fixed period, or a loan contingent on the end date of the SHL project (indefinite at this stage), please specify this when donating, and that material will be registered as a special case. If you would prefer these books to not include a stamp or bookplate, let us know. If, at any time and for any reason, you want to take any contributed material back, get in touch and we’ll arrange to have it returned.


All material that is clearly fragile, rare or one-of-a-kind will be included in a special collection. This material will be catalogued in a way that will not interfere with the physical object, and will be kept separate from the main collection.


During opening hours, SHL will be constantly peopled by two trusted invigilators, who will greet and help out patrons, and maintain the collection.

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