HSU Library Collection Maintenance Department


[What do we do for you?]
[Frequently asked questions about collection maintenance]


What do we do for you?

The Collections Maintenance Department reshelves books that have been checked out or used within the Library. We also "read" the shelves to ensure that the books are kept in proper sequence. We measure the Library's collections annually and use spreadsheet software to monitor and shift crowded areas. Collection and reporting of library usage statistics is another of our responsibilities.

During the 1994/95 academic year, patrons entered the Library 573,036 times, down from a peak of 708,801 in 1990/91 and 585,674 in 1993/94. Per capita library use by the HSU academic community was down from 85.8 uses in 1993/94 to 81.55 uses in 1994/95. Library materials were checked out 262,842 times in 1994/95, down from a peak of 286,342 check- outs in 1992/93. Library materials were used within the building 401,678 times in 1994/95, below peak usage of 501,752 in 1990/91.

During the academic year, some 30 student employees reshelve the books. Four of them are lead workers who help organize and direct the work of their co-workers.

Frequently asked questions about collection maintenance

1. Q: Why do you have signs in the book stacks asking patrons not to reshelve books?
A: A book that is shelved in the wrong location is inaccessible to patrons. People who are browsing the stacks tend to put the books back in the wrong gap on the shelves--even on the wrong side of the aisle--or to misread or misunderstand the classification systems used for filing the books in sequence on the shelves. Note that five different classification systems are used in our library, for the Children's Collection, Curriculum Collection, Federal Documents, California Documents, and Reference, Main and Periodicals Collections. Shelvers who are trained and accustomed to shelving library materials tend to make fewer filing errors than do casual browsers.

2. Q: I left a pile of books I'd been using with a note on it asking that they not be reshelved. When I came back the next day they were gone. Why?
A: If we see books left unused for more than two hours, our practice is to collect and reshelve them. Otherwise, those materials might be unavailable to someone who needs to use them.

3. Q: I needed a book the online catalog showed as "In Library," but it was not on the shelf. Is there any way I could locate it?
A: You could look among the unshelved books on book trucks in the area where the book belongs, i.e. near the main stairwell on third floor for items in the main collection there (call numbers N through Z) or in the same area on second floor for main collection items with call numbers A through M. Unshelved periodicals are trucked in the area east of the main collection book trucks. Library materials on these trucks should be in call number sequence, giving you a chance of finding what you need before it is reshelved. Please help us keep the trucks in order and in straight rows. In addition, there is a chance your book has not yet gone upstairs from the Circulation Office. If you are still unable to locate your book, consider speaking with Information Services staff at either of the reference desks to seek help with your problem. Also, students and faculty may submit a Search and Hold card (available at the Circulation Desk) to have the item searched for. Reshelving of Library materials is done by student workers. At peak periods--especially at the end of each semester--we are unable to return materials to the shelves as promptly as we would like. Shelvers are not able to work a lot of extra hours when they are taking their final examinations. Around semester's end, the lag time between return of a book to the Library and reshelving may stretch from a more normal two to three days, to more like a week.

Send comments and suggestions about this page to: collection@library.humboldt.edu
Last Updated: January 18, 1996