You've probably noticed signs within the library imploring patrons to not reshelve books.  But you may not know why the librarians prefer you place that book on the reshelving cart and the answer may surprise you.

Many of our materials do not circulate, meaning they must be used in the library.  If they don't leave the library, then they aren't being checked out.  This makes it difficult to measure how frequently these materials are being used.  We want to know how often resources are being used because we strive to make collection decisions based on the needs and preferences of our patrons. 

One way librarians measure use is through reshelving.  If a book needs to be shelved, then someone was using it.  Maybe they scanned the chapter they wanted, or flipped though and determined it wasn't the resource for them.  Maybe they visit the library every day, reading a different portion of the book each time.  Librarians want to track this usage so we know these are valuable parts of the collection.  But if you return the book to the shelf yourself, we'll never know.

We know you remember where you found the book.  We know it makes you feel lazy to leave it on the table.  But please do it!  Let us clean up after you (just this one time any way) and please do not reshelve that book.

Submitted by Manriquez,Elizabeth, Head of Reference & Scholarly Support on March 14, 2024

This article appears in the categories: Law Library