or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk


Shelf Reading Guide

   August 30th, 2007 Brian Herzog

Library ShelvesQ: What's the most important job in the library?
A: The lowly Page.

Pages are important because how well they do their job dictates whether or not a book can be found on the shelf. A library is dependent on its organization system (whatever it might be), so the process for getting returned books back to the right place on the shelf needs to be pretty close to perfect.

Pages are the first step in that process.

The second step is shelf reading. Books get mis-shelved. Patrons pick up books and put them back in the wrong place. It happens. This is why it is necessary (however dreadful and tedious) to shelf read a library's collection from time to time.

Dodie Gaudet, on her blog Quick T.S., provides a nice Guide to Shelf Reading. It's kind of a recap of what is taught in library school, but distilled to the important parts, including suggestions and useful links.

Although I dread a massive shelf-reading project, we can always use one, and this might actually prompt me to begin.

libraries, library, page, pages, paging, public libraries, public library, shelf reading, shelf-reading, shelving



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Shelving By Dewey Guidelines

   June 28th, 2007 Brian Herzog

Melvil DeweyThis is about as far from Library 2.0 as you can get (and perhaps short-lived), but I created a quickie guide for putting books on the shelf according to the Dewey Decimal System.

My library has gotten a few new pages (people who put returned books back on the shelves) and shelf-readers (people who straighten the shelves and make sure the books are actually in order) recently, and when I started training them, found that we had no documentation on the Dewey Decimal System. We had a Dewey test they needed to pass before they were allowed to work, but nothing with which they could prepare for the test.

So I made up the handout below, as a quick overview/introduction to Dewey, and also a reference guide for them to keep with them in the stacks until they get the hang of it. It's designed for double-sided printing, and some of our shelvers even laminated it.

This handout is tailored for the Chelmsford Library, but feel free to modify the Word version to work best for your library. If you have any questions (or notice any mistakes), please let me know.



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