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Van Houten Shelf Reading: Home

A crucial, but often unloved aspect of stack maintenance. Our initiatives to make shelf-reading less arduous.

Van Houten Shelf Reading

Training and Practice

Training first involves face-to-face instruction. A media session (a viewing of Youtube videos related to LC classification). Training continues with an interactive shelving game (provided via Kent State University Library)--a digital practice which is then followed up by real world application: a sorting of physical books.

Once supervisors are satisfied with the library worker's demonstrated mastery of LC, the principals of shelf-reading are detailed in-depth.  

  1. Books out of order by Library of Congress call number.
  2.  Books shelved in the wrong location. For example: a Reference book shelved in the Stacks Collection.
  3. Books placed on top of other books, outside of bookends, or books that have fallen behind the row of books on the shelf. 
  4. Books with damaged or missing call number labels. 
  5. Books shelved in the collection but owned by another library.Source:

Workers are assigned micro-sections (see Figure 1)--this initiative's intent is to reduce "read fatigue" by having workers read smaller, more manageable areas of hierarchical (high-use first) stack sections. 

A log is kept of the number of miss-shelves per stack (above-mentioned principal 3., not included in miss-shelve stats)


Figure 1.           


Van Houten Shelf Reading

New Jersey Institute of Technology 
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