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  • Galveston CollegeLibrary
  • Stack Maintenance & Shelving

    Stack maintenance is a general term for the work done in the stacks. All of the work that takes place in the stacks is intended for the betterment of the library and the patrons. When the stacks are organized in an orderly fashion it allows patrons and librarians to easily find what they are searching for. If a book is mishelved, it could be lost for a very long time--no one knows where to look for it! A tidy shelf also ensures an organized appeal. If the library looks good and the books are easy to find, patrons will return.

    Shelving a book is simply putting that book back where it belongs using the LCC system. The main stacks are arranged by subject (A-Z). Each row of shelves has a sign that states the general LCC range in that row.

    Once you have completed your Library Tools: LC Easy Training, start your shelving rounds with the cart located near the range ends, as this typically has the most books from patrons returning books to the library. Also collect and reshelve books that have been left on the study tables or other areas throughout the library.

    One thing that should be done before shelving the books is ordering the books on the cart. This way, the shelver does not have to run all over the library shelving the books. If they are ordered before they are taken out, it makes the shelving process considerably more efficient.

    Please note that all books marked “Ref.” on the spine belong in the reference collection. A “Ref.” book should never go in the circulating stacks area; likewise, a book for the circulating collection should never go in the reference stacks. These are the most commonly mixed up books, but also be mindful of books marked Reserve or Career Resources.

    When you find the "correct" place for the book, double check the shelf order. Sometimes the books on the shelf are out of order and the entire row or rows need to be ordered. If you shelve a book in an area that is not in order, it only multiplies the chaos, so shelf-read as necessary.


    Shelf Reading & Edging

    Shelf-reading is an important part of stack maintenance. It includes reading each call number in order to ensure that the books are properly shelved. Patrons often place books back on the shelves without knowing exactly how to shelve books. It is inevitable that every worker will at some point accidentally misshelve a book. After a long day it becomes easy to lose focus and make simple mistakes. You should try not to shelve books or shelf-read when you are very tired.

    • You are responsible for shelf reading as you shelve. This ensures that areas receiving the most use are kept tidy.

    Edging books is a very simple part of stack maintenance. Pull the books close to the edge of the shelf and even out the row. Sometimes the books have been sloppily shelved by a patron, or just moved back from browsing. To ensure that the books are easily accessible to other patrons, it is good to edge them so that the patron can easily see the call number and spine title of the book. Also look for books that have been pushed behind rows.

    When edging, be sure to pull the book from the spine or from farther back on the top of the book. It will cause damage to the book if you quickly pull at the top spine edge of the book. Obviously, we want to keep the books in good condition for as long as possible.

    • You are responsible for edging as you shelve. This ensures that areas receiving the most use are kept tidy.