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Onboarding Student Assistants - Cartersville Library: Shelving Books/Library Items

Check those call numbers!

This video was made by the library at Pacific Northwest College of Art. While we do not do everything the same way they do, it provides good tips and tricks to re-shelving books.

Shelf Reading How To's

Shelf Reading


One of your main tasks will be shelf reading, which is when you browse the collection to make sure books and AV materials are in the correct call number order. This practice is essential to keeping the book shelves, or stacks, organized. A log will be kept at the Circulation Desk where you can record your progress.

On your shelf reading log enter the following information:

  • Date
  • Name
  • Starting call number (the first call number read)
  • Ending call number (last call number read)
  • Start time
  • End time


Consider the following when reading your section:

Is the item in the right place when compared to it's "neighbors?" 

  • If yes, continue reading.
  • If no, remove the item and determine where it should go.
    • Items that are only slightly out of place can be immediately reshelved. Example: M219 St82 before M219 M877.
    • Items that are "far from home" should be brought to the Circ Desk. Example: if M1507 P943 is found in the M1503 section, the item may have been previously marked as missing and should be checked in.

Is the call number label damaged or otherwise illegible?

  • If no, continue reading.
  • If yes, bring the item to the Circ Desk for processing.


  • Books should remain upright and remain in line with each other on the shelves. This process is called blocking. 
  • Eliminate large gaps between books.
  • Shelf reading and blocking go hand in hand. Do them together.
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