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  • Galveston CollegeLibrary
  • Collection Maintenance


    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.

    Before shelving books, arrange the books on the cart in LC classification. Arranging the books in LC classification before shelving makes the shelving process considerably more efficient, and reduces the chances of books being incorrectly shelved. 

    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, Circulating Reserve, and Leisure (Green Spine).


    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.

    Finding Library Materials


    Books in the GC Library are shelved using the Library of Congress Classification System. The call number on the book is a combination of letters and numbers.

    The letters and numbers are associated with topics. The call number will be found on the spine of the book or on the lower left-hand corner of the front cover. 

    It can be difficult to know which search tool to use. Here's a quick guide.

    Koha Library Catalog:

    •  Gives you an "insider look" at item records with detailed info (when last checked out, when due, etc).  Also searches records for cataloged information. Patrons can place holds, renew items, and manage their patron account in Koha. 

    Whitecaps OneSearch:

    • Streamlined interface. You can search multiple formats in one search and you can filter search results by publication date, item type, subject heading, etc.  Easily access full text online.

    Always remember to refer patrons to a Library Team Member if they need help finding research resources, such as journals or articles.