BEST PRACTICES FOR SHELVING

A few simple rules and guidelines

Shelving is Important!

The 5 Laws of Library Science, according to S. Ranganathan are:

  1. Books are for use.
  2. Every reader his [or her] book.
  3. Every book its reader.
  4. Save the time of the User.
  5. The library is a growing organism.


To ensure every patron has her book, it's important that our shelves are neat and in the proper order.

Place each book on your cart in the correct place.

Please Keep in Mind:


  • Fiction is shelved alphabetically by author then by title. The stacks are separated by genre. (NOTE: If you are unsure if a book belongs in PAPERBACKS or FICTION, please check the catalog.)
  • Non-fiction is shelved by Dewey Decimal number. Look at the entire decimal number and place in the correct order. If two call numbers are the same, shelve alphabetically by name on the spine label. (EX: 641.5 BITTMAN comes before 641.5 KASSOFF.)
  • Come to a logical stopping place on each shelf. Do not separate call numbers if possible (EX: 730s on one shelf, next shelf begins with 731).
  • Make sure books are straight and neat, and spines are aligned on the edge of the shelf.
  • At the end of each shelf, make sure books are secured with bookend or wire book-stop. Secure books tightly enough to keep them straight, but not so tight patrons cannot easily take out a book.
  • Shelf read as you shelve to keep the collection looking neat.
  • Check the ends of shelves as well as nearby tables for books that need to be re-shelved.