Moving Library Collections: measuring collections
Measure the collection as close to the time of the shift as possible.
An easy way to measure: Cut string 40-ish inches long. Tie a nut (metal, not organic) on one end. At exactly the 35" mark, tie a knot.
It doesn't matter how long the string is, as long as every string that you make is the exact same length. We prefer to use 35" because that's how long each of our shelves are (not 36") and other calculations that we do involve multiplying the number of shelves by their length (35") to find out how many total inches of shelf space we have. It's just easier to use 35" for string length as well as shelf length.
Manufacturers sometimes use "nominal" rather than "actual" measurements. Like 2x4's not being 2" x 4", 36" nominal shelves are usually 35" long. Sometimes the 36" includes the wings, so the shelf bottom is more like 35.5" or something.
Even cotton string stretches, so at the end of each day re-measure your strings and tie the knots at the correct places, or replace them.
You can measure either the empty space or the books on the shelves. Once you decide which to measure, of course, you should stick with that decision. If you're shifting a pretty full collection, it's easier to measure the space, not the books.
Use a two-person team: the measurer and the recorder.
Measurer: start at the first shelf. Hold the string up to the amount of space left on shelf. Go to the next shelf. Measure empty space. When you've used up the string (35"), say out loud "Hatch" or "One" or whatever. When you have a totally full shelf (such as a bound journal run) there's nothing to measure.
Starting with the nut end, start measuring the space (not the books) on the shelf:
Slide the string through your fingers until the point that was in your right hand (at the end of the previous shelf) is now in your left hand and measure the next shelf's space:
Recorder: every time you hear the measurer say "One", make a hatch mark on your sheet.
Part of the measuring is recording the numbers of sections and shelves. The Recorder can be counting these while the measurer measures.
If you're having folks new to measuring doing this job, you should randomly check their work. Go to a range and re-measure it yourself, and see if you get close to the same number of hatch marks, and the exact number of sections and shelves/section.
Here's a sample sheet:
|Range #||Growth space||Beg. call #||End. call #||# sections||# shelves|