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Student Employee Portal

Everyday Tasks

Materials in the library are arranged by call number (the label on the spine of the book) using the Library of Congress classification system (or "LC" for short).  It's important to learn the LC system for shelving and for helping patrons locate materials.

The shelving process begins at the Access Services Desk when materials are returned by patrons or other library departments. Here we check items in on WMS and sort them by collection and call number on place them on the short book shelves directly behind the desk.

When we're ready to shelve materials into the collection, we put them on the top shelf of a book truck (still in call number order) with the spines facing up. Please check in books again in the WMS system to ensure all materials have been accurately checked in.

Shelving materials back into the collection is one of the most important jobs in the library.  Accurate shelving makes materials accessible and usable to the patrons who need them. 



Check with a staff member if you are unsure of where the books should be shelved!

Floor Materials
4th Floor (Main Collection)
  • Call Numbers: A - Z
  • Closed/Storage
3rd Floor
  • Learning Resources Center
  • Government Documents 
  • Periodicals/Microfilm
  • DVDs (Popular, Music, & Academic)
2nd Floor (Cafe Zone, Grand Reading Room, Display)
  • Appalachian
  • Award
  • Graphic Novels
  • Magazines (Current)
  • New Books
  • Newspapers (Current)
  • Popular
  • Faculty & Staff Authors
  • Staff Picks


  • Before moving on, double-check that you have shelved the book in the correct spot.  A good way to do this is to look at the LC number of the books before and after the book you have just shelved. 
  • If you find books that are mis-shelved or out of order, bring them to the Access Services desk so they can be discharged.
  • If the books are tight on the shelf, don’t try to jam a book into its spot.  Loosen the bookend to make room.
  • It may be necessary to make room on the shelf by shifting the first one or two books to the end of the shelf above, or the last one or two books to the beginning of the shelf below.
  • If there is no room on the shelf or if the shelf appears crowded make note of the call numbers. Bring the books you can’t shelve back to the shelving desk and tell a staff person so we can arrange for the area to be shifted.
  • If you can’t finish shelving the books on a truck before the end of your shift, bring the truck downstairs so that another person can complete it.

Library Floor Maps

Collection Maintenance

One of your tasks will be shelf reading, which is when you browse the collection to make sure materials are in the correct call number order. This practice is essential to keeping the book shelves, or stacks, organized. On your shelf reading log enter the following information:

  • Date
  • Name (select name from list)
  • Starting call number (the first call number read)
  • Ending call number (last call number read)
  • Start time
  • End time
  • Were there are problems?

Consider the following when reading your section:

  1. Is the item in the right place when compared to its neighbors? 
    1. If yes, continue reading.
    2. If no, remove the item and determine where it should go.
      1. Items that are only slightly out of place can be immediately reshelved. Example: M219 ST82 before M219 M877.
      2. Items that are "far from home" should be brought to the shelving desk and checked in. Example: if M1507 P943 is found in the M1503 section, the item may have been previously marked as missing and should be checked in.
  2. Is the call number label damaged or otherwise illegible?
    1. If no, continue reading.
    2. If yes, bring the item to Collections for processing.
  3. Are all books lined up with the edge of the shelf?
    1. If yes, continue reading.
    2. If no, pull all books to the edge of the shelf.
  4. Are all books are standing upright with a book end placed at the end of each shelf?
    1. If no, place books upright. If a book end is needed, one may be acquired from room 402c.
    2. If yes, you're done with that row. Congratulations!

While stacks cleaning is very important for the collections it can be dirty and tedious work. Schedule breaks, rotate tasks, and let someone know if you are having difficulties doing the work or encountering problems with the collection. Make sure dust masks and ear plugs are easily available for people cleaning. Four hours should probably be the maximum time per day any one person spends cleaning. Stacks cleaning should always be done by a team of two people if possible - the work goes faster, easier and is less tedious if done together. By cooperating, two people should be able to vacuum three sections of books and shelving in an hour.

Some things to consider before beginning stacks cleaning:

  • Be on the lookout for problems. Droppings might signal the presence of rodents or insects and mold or dampness could indicate a humidity problem or leaky pipe. If you suspect a problem, stop working and alert a Collection Development staff member immediately. 
  • Pull damaged materials in need of repair and take to staff member in Collection Development.
  • Carefully remove things that have been left by patrons in books such as bookmarks, scraps of paper, paper clips, and post-it notes.

Supplies Needed:

  • 1 step stool or library ladder, as needed
  • 1 book truck
  • box or tote for supplies, fits on lower book truck shelf
  • 1 vacuum cleaner and spare bags
  • 1 or 2 sturdy bookends
  • soft cotton rags (several dozen)
  • 2 soft brushes (cheap shaving brush or similar)
  • 2 pairs rubber and/or cotton gloves
  • face mask for dust
  • liquid Lysol or other disinfectant
  • laundry bag


  1. Each team of two cleaners shares a book truck and other supplies (see list at the end of this article). One team member transfers a shelf of books, a few volumes at a time, to a book truck or hands them to a second team member to place on the truck. Care is taken to keep the books in order.

  2. One worker then wipes down the shelf, first with a dry rag or vacuum cleaner and then with a damp (not wet) rag rung out in a dilute solution of Lysol® or other disinfectant. The team works through the shelves from top to bottom, so any dust falling lands on the next shelf to be cleaned. After a damp wipe, the shelf is carefully dried since it must be dry when books are returned to it.

  3. Meanwhile, the second team member treats each book individually, dusting the head of the book first where the most dirt accumulates. The closed book is cradled securely under one arm with a hand supporting the fore edge. The head of the book is tilted forward with the spine uppermost. A soft cloth or brush is used to push the dust away from the spine. Dust that falls down the spine or between the pages of the book is there forever! Finally, a soft cloth is used to wipe down the sides and other edges of the book. Great care must be exercised so that the cloth does not snag on torn or loose parts of the binding.

  4. Finally, one team member hands the dusted books, one or two at a time and in order, to the other who positions them on the clean dry shelf. Each worker needs a hand free to support the other books in the row during transfer. The worker placing the books on the shelf insures that the books are all upright, adequately supported, and flush with or an inch or two in from the front edge of the shelf.