Creating Spaces in the Stacks

If you work in a library that serves a relatively large community, you’ll know that to satisfy the needs of your patrons when it comes to best sellers and ensure no one has to wait months and months for a copy, collection development librarians will purchase multiple copies. In my particular library, they generally order one copy for every five holds that’s placed on the title while under the ON ORDER status in the catalog. For example, as I’m writing this post, I notice there are 105 holds on that steamy best seller, 50 Shades of Grey, and we own 27 copies, plus we have 7 more on order. That’s a lot of grey! As long as all those titles are checked out, there’s pretty much no issue, right?

When popularity on titles decline and weeding duties fall behind, though, shelves can become pretty crammed with these previous best sellers and popular books. At my library, there are only one or two people assigned to weed the fiction stacks, and that responsibility is just one of many of theirs, so our stacks are pretty tight. Our temporary solution to the problem: a “Best Sellers You May Have Missed” display!

Knowing we had done something like this before, our assistant director actually came to my supervisor and suggested we free up some room on our shelves by putting it up again. Not needing to write up a list and get too creative with a sign, my colleagues and I were able to quickly put up this display in place of our Mother’s Day feature.

Usually our displays are just one or two titles face out on each shelf, but my supervisor wanted me to cram as many books on the shelves as possible. Another colleague commented and said it really lent toward a cozy bookstore feeling. Besides weeding, what are some other ways librarians can create space in the stacks?

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