Stack maintenance is a general term for making sure that the books are organized in an orderly fashion. If a book is not shelved correctly, it could be lost for a very long time.

UAA Learning Resources Center. - Shelf Read Training


Books are returned, checked back in, re-sensitized, and organized in the pre-shelving area. Later they are placed on carts for shelving. Shelving a book is putting that book back where it belongs using the correct organization system. Books in the main (general collection and reference) stacks and in Reference are arranged by subject (A-Z). Each shelf has an end tag showing the books that belong on that range in that row.

Please note that all books marked “Ref.” on the spine belong in the reference area.

Shelving in circulation area

Put books in call number order, on to the pre-shelving range. Be careful and deliberate when placing items in call number order. Later these books will be loaded on to carts then shelved where they belong.  

Shelving in Ranges

Take a book truck filled with checked-in/sensitized and organized books, to the second or third floor, and place the books on the shelves in the correct call number order.  

Shelving is scheduled for an hour. If you finish before the hour has elapsed, please shelve any “stray” books which may be lying or standing at the end of the shelves or which may have been left on tables..

When you find books out of order, please correct the arrangement and straighten the books on the shelves as time permits. If you find a particularly messy area, that you’re unable to fully correct, please take note of the exact location and inform a staff member when you return to Circulation. This is important. Having the shelves in the best possible order, helps us in locating a book helps our patrons in general, and simply looks better.


Shelf Reading

Shelf-reading is reading each call number (spine label) to ensure that the books are properly shelved. Move through the stacks from left to right and top to bottom. Accuracy is important.

Check the shelf-reading record posted in the pre-shelving area behind the Library Services Desk to begin. Note the call number of the last book where the previous shelf-reader ended.

When you shelf-read, you will go to a designated stack area and put the books in the correct call number order. The book rows should be made neat by pulling them forward a bit and tightening them up if the rows are loose. (Edging or blocking). Please avoid making rows tight which will make  it difficult to take a book out or place it back. (You will not need to take a book truck with you.)

When finished with shelf-reading, write the call number where you ended, your initials and the date on the shelf-reading record.

Getting Returns

When getting returns, please take an empty truck with you to either the second or third floor as assigned; collect all the books from the return book trucks, tables, soft chairs, etc., and bring them back to the Circulation area. As time permits, the returns are then scanned to make sure the found items weren’t checked out.  Then, the books are placed onto the pre-shelves by call number to await re-shelving on the second or third floor.


The job of edging or blocking books means pulling the books close to the edge of the shelf and evening out the row. It’s a good time to check to make sure that none of the books have slid behind the others.