Moving Library Collections: Comments, tips from other libaries
Helpful hints and comments from Others
|Date: Sat, 2 Aug 2003 21:31:09 -0400 (EDT)
From: Nilima Nigam
To: Shirien Chappell
Cc: Marika Asimakopulos Subject: Library Organization:L From Nightmare to Not So Bad
I promised to write about our experience with the reorganization of the McGill Math library. As I'd written, our books were stacked alphabetical by author (5 bucks for figuring out how to stack a conference proceedings, russian books, the odd journal...). Our goal was to reorganize everything according to call number.
When I last wrote to you, I was optimistic- I had a list of books, with call number information. There were only about 4000 on there. So I planned my paper shift, got very familiar with the plan, and left for Australia. There seemed something odd about average number of books per shelf times number of shelves seeming much larger than 4000, but hey, Sydney beckoned, and a computerised list can't be wrong!
Well, once I got back, I realised that there were actually _two_ lists in existence. One in which there was author/title info, in which there were closer on 9,000 books, but no call numbers, and then the list I had. OK, so I thought I'd yank the ones without call numbers, catalog them, and move on.
Not quite. Many of our books had call numbers stuck on the spines, and weren't on my "call-numbered" list. Yikes!
By this point it seemd hopeless- except for the enthusiasm of everyone else involved. Also your email with its several suggestions for sorting ws very very helpful. So we ploughed right ahead. We started on Thursday July 31st, and today we re-shelved the last book.
On Thursday, as you'd suggested, we pulled about 1/4 of the collection off the shelves, and sorted them onto tables. We then went through the remaining books, and pulled out all the initial all numbers. Sorted them on the tables, reshelved. (AA- QA170)> . There was minor panic in the morning- based on my "call number" list, I'd tried to predict how much space to leave per call number section. Totally off. Tossed the list!
On Friday, with more sorting areas free, we first went shelf-by-shelf, sorting by call number on each shelf. We were then able to rapidly go through and pull out (QA 171-QA 240), merge the piles, sort them, and re-shelve them.
Today we pulled all the remaining books off the shelves. Since they were pre-sorted somewhat it was easy to allocate them to the correct sortin areas. We then resorted and reshelved.
Finally, we collected al the books with no call numbers, and reshelved them alphabetically.
The final phase of the job is to figure out the books with call numbers which aren't on the "call-number" list, and enter call numbers for them.
It's looking great! And it is now so much easier to use!
Thanks again for your very helpful suggestions, and the excellent website. I drew plenty of inspiration from it!
|Date: Mon, 29 Jun 1998 23:07:11 EDT
Subject: Planning shifts of Library Collections
You web page makes a lot of sense, but here is how it's done in the real world:
Pour yourself a cup of coffee and make some decisions. Make a few decisions that actually make sense. This will help prevent mutiny. Make a few more to please administration, whether you actually need their approval or not. Make at least one decision purely for your own arbitrary sense of order.
It is best to do this in a building where things have been the same for at least 5 years, so everyone is used to things the way they were. Before actually moving anything, wait until at least 1/3 of your M.C. ("bookshelver") positions are vacant. Don't bother counting or measuring shelves. The busy period at the end of the school year is an especially propitious time. Get started with a volunteer or someone from a program with an ominous name like "youth at risk," who hasn't had experience with the cataloging system. Make sure this helper has to leave before she or he has completed the job, or learned too much about the library system. When your bookshelvers have really fallen behind in their work, close the branch for a week to install new shelving. It is very important that during this week, you do not have your staff in the building. Send them out to other branches for the week. You might keep one or two there so you yourself don't have to move any books, but make sure there are not enough to have everything organized when you reopen.
Enjoy the confusion on opening day, then leave town for a professional conference where you can complain about your uncooperative staff.
Laurie, the disheveled bookshelver
|From: Edwin Smidmore
I have just completed a book move plan for the relocation of five million books so obviously I found your guide interesting. I have a few ideas for you:
If the collection consists of journals only and current titles within the collection need growth space then we would calculate in a similar way that you do, however, instead of identifying the average amount of vacant space that we can leave on each shelf, we would calculate approx. how many years growth we could afford to give each current title. As we move the material onto the new shelving face, we simply gauge the amount of shelf space for each current title by multiplying the thickness of one of later volumes by the number of years growth we estimated and leave that amount of vacant space, this saves double handling, that you would experience in your method. To avoid the obvious problem of using too much space or running out of space when we reach the end of the move, we split the measurement of the existing collection in say 10 equal parts and record the location number etc. at the end of each part. We would then add a tenth of the allocation for growth space to each part eg. existing collection has 1,000 shelves divide by 10 = 100, allocation for growth is 400 shelves, divide by 10 = 40, therefore a tenth of the collection in its new location with growth would be 140 shelves. As we move the material into the new area we would check each part location number and measure how many shelves we have used to see whether we are using too little or too much space and adjust the number of years growth we are leaving, accordingly.
When we relocate or re-arrange collections which have monographs only, we look at the existing collection to indenitify areas of high and low intake of new material. We then add this information to any other information that may be available on new acquisitions and allocate the growth space accordingly. We use the same method as above to ensure that we complete the move without either being short of space or having too much vacant space left-over at the end of the run.
|Date: Wed, 2 Dec 1998 01:58:42 -0800 (PST)
From: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm glad that you could share some of you experience through internet. I'm head of a municipal library in Petaling Jaya. At the moment, we are at 2nd floor of MPPJ Tower, State PJ New Town. We plan to move to our new library building next year, probably in Apri or May. I'm now very busy discussing with my interior design on the lay out etc, etc. So I feel that by sharing your experience it will probably help me a lot. Anyway, I tell you my process once I'm putting my foot in. Thank you very much.
|From: Amy Bond
Date: Mon, 04 Aug 1997 15:42:41 -0500
Thanks to all who responded so quickly and so helpfully to my request for information regarding software which helps map out shelf collection layout for library moves. A summary of responses follows:
1) The Shelf Space Manager software is available from ECHOSOFT PO Box 55076 Atlanta, GA 30355. You can call them at 800-942-4043 and receive information regarding user and multi-library licensing costs as well as demo costs if you want to evaluate the product. It is a Windows program which is designed to help libraries plan for shelf space requirements and produces maps to be used during a move or book shift.
2) An excellent web site can be viewed at http://library.uoregon.edu/acs_svc/shift/ which details how to plan and execute shifts of library collections. The information provided is well-organized and the methodology appears to be sound. It covers in detail how to set up teams to accomplish moving/shifting projects, how to calculate and map collection moves, and how to keep service running while accomplishing moves with the assorted related details.
3) Others responded with information that they had adapted spreadsheet programs to chart collection moves. Specific programs mentioned included Microsoft Excel and Lotus.
|From: Zoltan Tomory
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 97
Thank you for all the help you have given me (without your even having known!). I have been planning a move for my library. I had pretty much worked out a method when your site was pointed out to me. You helped me confirm when I had thought something through correctly. You made suggestions about some issues I hadn't even thought of. Heck, you even entertained me when I thought I was losing my mind. I had to tell you how much I appreciated everything you have on the web--I could not have had a more supportive colleague.
A bit about our move: I'm with the Missouri Botanical Garden. Our research building ran out of space, so the bigwigs got the money together to build a new one. We will be moved to the top floor of the new structure. One thing that is different is that our stacks will be in compact shelving. Bummer, because we had become big time tippers at our present (old) library. With the compact shelving nothing will be allowed to stick out more than about 1/2 inch. I have been threatening to bring in a saw.
Well, the plans are done with, the existing stacks have been marked with where things should go in the new building (a double check, and allows us to operate several teams at the same time) and the empty shelves in the new building have been marked with the amount of free space to be left. We start on Friday & I guess I'm as ready as can be.
What I love about the net is the way we can ask for help and randomly help others from time to time. I would be happy to answer any questions people may have
Thanks in advance again for all of your help!
Missouri Botanical Garden
The move went like clockwork. By the time the movers had arrived, all of the shelves in the old building had been neatly marked with a yellow sticky estimating to the inch where a range of shelving would begin in the new building. In the new building we had also marked each individual shelf with the amount of space that was to be left. The quickest way we had discovered was to measure the distance and roll out masking tape from top shelf to the bottom. To remove the thought process from the measurement I had cut some cardboard strips to length and marked them like "MX 22.9 in." MX was one of a series of codes meaning:
- MR Monograph/Regular
MX Monograph/Extra space
SX Serials/Extra Space
When the movers arrived, nearly a carnival atmosphere took hold. I explained to their boss and crew chiefs how things were marked, the way that things would flow out to the loading dock and how they would go up at the destination. They thought it made sense. We were able to get three teams loading books at the old library, three other teams unloading in the new library and a team loading or unloading rare books. All I could do was watch.
For the most part I supervised the rare book people, though I think they would have done just as well without me. The clerical person supervised most of the unloading for the library.
I suggested we sort of fluff as we go, telling the movers to go a few inches to the left or right of the tape. Since errors can happen, we missed some of the fluffing opportunities, and our shelvers are still fluffing. It's too bad we missed this opportunity because: first, we could have gotten it much closer to perfect as the items were going in, and second, it is taking a toll on our shelvers to do it now.
Well, I must let go of the things I can't control. The planning went very well. We maintained an amazing degree of control. One of the movers said that he hadn't before seen a move where everybody remained in good spirits--Usually somebody was expected to start hollering. Though we could have done somewhat better, what we achieved was remarkable.
|Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998
From: Don Page
To Shirien Chappell,
We would like to thank you for the Website you created "Planning Shifts of Library Collections." Mr. Larry Huizar is Coordinator of Stacks Management and I am his backup Coordinator.
We recently finished a relatively small legal collection shift and incorporated some of your experiences and philosophies from your website instructions. Our shift went quickly and hassle free.
Both Mr. Huizar and myself have been involved in FOUR collection shifts! The first one was in 1996, which involved compressing the entire Periodicals collection onto less shelves, and at the same time, changing this collection from being shelved in title order to Library of Congress order. The second and third shifts involved a physical move of microfilm and microfiche cabinets AND AGAIN placing the collection into L.C. call number order.
The first three collection shifts were without the benefit of your website. (We were unaware of its existence). The fourth, and most recent, shift involved the use of your website plus our previous experience. We especially appreciated your stress on organization, planning, positive attitude regarding unexpected problems and mistakes, and positive relations with ALL persons involved with the shift.
The first, and by far the most extensive and difficult shift, resulted in a 7 range space gap upon completion of the project. Due to extenuating circumstances we didn't have time to engage in extensive planning or corection of mistakes as they were discovered. It was necessary for us to consider speed as our ONLY priority, yet we also needed to maintain a very high level of accuracy.
Had we not been under time constraints the gap most likely could have been prevented. A second shift was necessary later to fill in this gap. With the most recent shift, we were able to spend the time necessary to plan more carefully, and we were fortunate this time to have adequate space to plan, organize, and map out in detail how the move was to occur, what equipment we needed, how much staff we needed, etc.
Our experience indicates that management's understanding and positive support of the tremendous difficulties and details involved with such extensive shifts/moves is critical to both the success of a shift and to the staff's morale.
Thank you again for sharing your experience and advice online.
Larry Huizar, Coordinator to Stack Management.
Calif. State Polytechnic University
|Date: Wed, 21 May 2003 15:29:44 -0400
Subject: moving library collections web site
I must say "thank you" for making such a great web site about shifting library collections. The amount of detail is astounding. I'm sure it took a lot of time to write all that up, but please be assured that many people will benefit from it. Thanks for sharing your experience and your positive attitude.