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Help Organizing
Library Shelves


Q. Being a library volunteer, I'd appreciate your help in organizing library shelves at our senior center. Thanks

A. How you organize your shelves would depend on the number and types of books you have and also by the way your book collection is used.

If your collection is small and is used mostly in a browsing fashion, an alphabetical arrangement by the author's last name would most likely work well. You can be very precise in your shelving by putting the books in order first by author and then by title, or a simpler solution would be just to put all the "A" authors together, then the "B" authors, and so on.

In a larger collection arranging your books by type is also an option. Grouping the mysteries, westerns, non-fiction, and other categories together will help readers who like those items find them easily. Within their groups they can be arranged alphabetically as well if wanted.

If you have materials other than books, they can be arranged in a similar way. Most items are easy to find by author or by artist if you have music cassettes or CDs. If you have movies in your collection, those would be easier arranged by title.

The use of labels can be helpful in keeping these arrangements, but keep in mind that over use of labels could detract from the look of your library. You could label the shelves by group or by alphabet range, or labels could be attached to the spines of the items indicating the first initial of the author's last name.

With or without labels, these suggestions should help you organize your collection in a way that will be easy for you to keep up and easy for your readers to use.

Answered by Librarian Kathy Dugan



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