Amita Vadlamudi - Computer Systems Engineer

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Amita Vadlamudi's Blog

Library Shelf-Reading

on 08 Jan 2018 20:24 | Viewed 1109 times

Shelf reading, the process of reviewing the placement of books on a library’s shelves to ensure they’re in the proper location is a crucial element of library management. An improperly shelved book is as good as lost since library staff and patrons are unlikely to find it. A book’s place on the library’s shelves is determined by its call number, assigned according to a classification system that arranges titles based on subject matter. The two most common classification systems are the Library of Congress and the Dewey Decimal.

Shelf readers look for books that are out of call number order and books that have been placed on top of other books or outside of book-ends, and those that have fallen behind the books on the shelf. Depending on the library’s size and how disorganized the improperly shelved books are, the books may be returned for sorting and re-shelving, or they may be properly re-shelved on the spot. Books whose call number labels are damaged or missing are given to the collection manager for repair. Books that are owned by a different branch are removed from the shelf and routed to the home library.

Although it is recommended that a library shelf-read its entire public collection at least weekly, many libraries shelf-read only the most-used areas that frequently and address other areas less frequently. An often thankless task, shelf reading is absolutely critical to a library’s function.

About the Author: Amita Vadlamudi enjoys learning about a wide range of subjects, such as environmental studies, astronomy, American history, ancient cultures, botany, and several related topics. In addition to supporting several charities, Amita Vadlamudi volunteers in her community by shelf reading at the library.


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