Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Information Technology and Libraries






American Library Association

Publication Date


First Page


Last Page



Thermal-transfer printing, a technology borrowed from the manufacturing sector, offers libraries a flexible method for printing durable, accurate, legible, and attractive labels that reliably adhere to most book surfaces. When guided by an electronic program customized to meet a library’s particular needs, a thermal-transfer printing system offers virtually limitless variations in font, format, and functionality. It can print labels directly from the online catalog, thereby guaranteeing that call numbers on labels match what patrons see in the catalog. This article explains thermal-transfer printing and how it compares with other printing technologies, briefly explores applications in both the manufacturing and library environments, and describes in detail how Utah State University Libraries and a few other libraries use it to improve the accuracy, appearance, and durability of their spine labels.


Originally published by the American Library Association. This article appears in the Information Technology and Libraries journal.


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