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Training & Information Guide for the Mathematical Sciences & Physics Library: Vl. Collection Maintenance Training

Guide to information for library staff only

Why Collection Maintenance is Important

Collection or stacks 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 library staff 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 aesthetic appeal. If the library looks good and the books are easy to find, patrons will return.

How to take care of Books

Mold Tutorial

Shelf Reading training video

Shelf Reading Training

Important shelving things TO DO


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.


There should be sufficient room on each shelf to accommodate the end brace and extra space for book re-shelving. Sometimes a shelf looks almost empty. This can be because many books from that shelf are in use, but often it is the result of haphazard re-shelving. Each collection varies in how much shelf room it has for all of its books, but just remember to leave an even amount of space at the end of every shelf--usually about 1/4 of the total shelf space. Do not crowd shelves or cramp books!



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