Moving Library Collections: Training
We had a couple library-wide meetings to discuss the mechanics of shifting: how backward shifts differ from forward ones, what is a "section", how to pick up a book, safety tips, answering questions, etc.
Then, this handout was given to all shifters, and a reference copy was put on a truck in each mini-shift.
Please be at the Command Post (ComPost) a couple minutes before the start of your shift.
Staff will be assigned to shift (load, unload, or push trucks) or to do other tasks. If you are physically unable to shift, you'll be:
- staffing the info desk
- paging books for patrons
- putting up range cards (the call # cards on the end of each range)
- running errands for shift supervisors
- answering phones
- updating maps
- putting bookends on shelves at appropriate distance from end (depending on the shift)
- other miscellaneous duties
It's your responsibility to be sure you're not assigned to do something you are not physically able to do.
Glossary: go through the jargon used in this shift.
Shifters: You will be assigned to shift with an experienced shifter. This person will be available to answer questions and teach shifting procedures. Also, shift supervisors will be wandering through the stacks, checking in with each team. Ask them questions.
There's a Frequently Asked Questions sheet in the ComPost. Check it out.
There will be several "special" shifts that do not follow the specific processes outlined here, so if you're asked to work on one of them, your instructions will be different.
- You must wear closed-toe shoes. We recommend some kind of support shoe.
- Dust masks will be provided.
- Please do warm-up exercises (stretching, a few jumping jacks, etc.) shortly before your scheduled shift.
- Work at an even rate. Pace yourself to the comfort level of the slowest member of the team. Don't jump start and then slow down, then spurt again. We really have found that shifts get done quicker if they're done slowly and more consistently. (Paradox for the day, huh?)
- Even if both partners on one end of a team have huge hands, please do not take large handfuls of books at a time. It adds to wrist, arm, shoulder, elbow, etc. stress.
- Your shift lasts two hours: please take your break before you appear for your shift.
- Report all injuries immediately to the shift supervisor.
- We're underconstruction: watch for nails, screws, etc.
- Don't wear hand jewelry.
- Don't worry if you tip a truck over by accident. If one starts to go, let 'er rip and get out of the way. Don't try to save it from falling. If the books are large and heavy (journal runs, for example), center them on the truck (don't fill both sides).
- When you find out what team you're assigned to and what your duties are, put on a mailing label with a colored-dot for your team's color. If you're working on an orange shift, then be sure all team members (loaders, unloaders, and pushers) are all wearing orange dots, and that you use booktrucks that have orange paper taped to them. We're working with lots of people who don't know us: make it easier on them and wear your colored label.
Types of Shifts
There are two types of shifts: Backward Shifts and Forward Shifts. A backward shift is the movement of books from right to left and from bottom to top. This is the easier of the two types of shifts. A forward shift is the movement of books from left to right and top to bottom. Both of these describe the movement of the books in relation to the ranges.
"Loading and Unloading" refer to the booktruck, not to the shelves. Loading refers to the act of taking books off the shelf and putting them onto the truck. Unloading is the opposite.
As the first book is loaded onto a booktruck, put a flag in it. This indicates where the unloaders are to begin on that truck. In a forward shift the flagged book is the one with the smallest call number and is placed on the top shelf on the truck at the left end. Take the books off the ranges from the top to bottom, left to right.
In a backward shift the flagged book is the one with the largest call number is is placed on the top shelf of the truck at the right end. Take the books off the range from the bottom to the top, right to left.
Trucks are always loaded from the top to the bottom.
Loading goes faster than unloading, so if we are short a team member, the loader will work alone.
In a forward shift the truck is uloaded from left to the right and the placed on the ranges from the left to right, top to bottom. Books move downward on the ranges.
In a backward shift, unloaders start with the flagged book from the right end of the top shelf of the truck and put it on the bottom shelf, at the right end. Books move upward on the ranges.
These folks ferry the trucks between the loading and unloading sites. Because we will have over 10 shift teams working at a time, take the route you are shown. Use the elevator you are told to. Your book trucks are color coded, as are your loaders and unloaders. Be sure you take full trucks from the orange loaders to the orange unloaders, and empty trucks from the orange unloaders back to the orange loaders. Don't race, don't run, and don't worry if you tip a truck over by accident. If one starts to go, let 'er rip and get out of the way. Don't try to save it from falling.
Miscellaneous Important Stuff:
Shifting is highly repetitious and can be calming or boring. It's a great chance to get to know other library staff with whom you don't often work. It's easy to get into a zombie-lull and just shift those books, over and over and over while you solve the world's problems with your partner.
Avoid time-consuming and frustrating errors: Please help us keep this project to a minimum of work. We know errors will happen and we will have to re-do some of our shifts; that's life. But you can help reduce these instances by following these guidelines:
Starting a new truck:
- Be sure the truck number is the next one after the one you just fininshed. Usually there are 6 trucks per mini-shift: if you just finished orange truck #5, be sure the one you start on is orange #6.
- Be conscious of the call numbers. When you begin a new truck, look at the last call number from the old truck and be sure the book in your hand falls right after (or before) it. Look at the call number on the range and be sure the book you're about to shelve belongs next to it.
Finishing up a side of a range: Be conscious of the direction of your shift. When you finish a side of a range, think very carefully whether you're supposed to go to the other side of the range, or turn around and start on a new range right behind you. This is a very common mistake: please think about it carefully before you turn your corner. If you're not sure, stop the lines and ask a shift supervisor.
Invisible Shelves: You might be surprised at how frequently an entire shelf of books becomes temporarily invisible and is missed. Top or bottom shelves sometimes are simply skipped over; don't know why it happens, but it does. It takes a lot of time to fix (sometimes whole ranges must be reshifted!) so please take inventory before going to the next section.
Losing shelves: most sf sections hold 7 shelves. If you're working in an area with tall books, you may get only 5 or 6. We want two finger's of space between the top of the tallest book and the bottom of the shelf above. In this shift, you may tip only 1-2 books per section. If you're tipping more than that, lose a shelf.
This is why backwards shifts are easier: you're working from the bottom to the top, so if you have to lose a shelf, the ajustment upward of all the empty shelves is a snap. If you're doing a forward shift, the adjustment upward is to a bunch of already-filled shelves, and it's a pain in the arms.
Shelfreading: This is the process of making sure books in in correct call number order. The Unloaders should rough-read (first two lines only) the books to be sure we haven't shelved a section or a truck out of order. If you have time, fine-read (read the rest of the call number). Staff who cannot physically shift may be assigned to shelf-read right along behind the unloaders.
If you're shifting in an area that is extremely out of order, tell a shift supervisor. S/he will make the decision to stop the lines and have everbody do a quick shelfreading project before continuing.
Preservation: When you take a book off a shelf (of a range or a truck) don't pry the book off the shelf by the headband (top of the spine). Move the bookend to loosen the books, then make a space for your fingers to grasp the whole text block.
We know there are lots of books in the stacks which need serious repair. Don't worry about them: shift them right along with everything else. The only instance in which books should be taken off the shelves is if there is only a text block and no cover, or only a cover and no innards. All others should stay on the shelves and we'll find them later. If you find a book you can't live without, jot its call number and go fetch it for check-out later, please.
|See this handout.|