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Student Library Assistant Training Guide

This guide was created to assist FSCJ campus libraries in training student assistants. These web resources and tutorials could be used with training materials specific to each LLC.

Library Shelving Tips and Tricks

This video was made by the library at Pacific Northwest College of Art. While we do not do everything the same way they do, it provides good tips and tricks to re-shelving books.

Ask your campus library staff about "the shallow D" (shifting), and about procedures for special sections, course reserves, and for books you find misplaced.

How to Shelve a Book

The Art of Shelf Reading


One of your main tasks will be shelf reading, which is when you browse the collection to make sure books and AV materials are in the correct call number order. This practice is essential to keeping the book shelves, or stacks, organized. A log will be kept at the Circulation Desk where you can record your progress.

On your shelf reading log enter the following information:

  • Date
  • Name
  • Starting call number (the first call number read)
  • Ending call number (last call number read)
  • Start time
  • End time

Consider the following when reading your section:

Is the item in the right place when compared to it's "neighbors?" 

  • If yes, continue reading.
  • If no, remove the item and determine where it should go.
    • Items that are only slightly out of place can be immediately reshelved. Example: M219 St82 before M219 M877.
    • Items that are "far from home" should be brought to the Circ Desk. Example: if M1507 P943 is found in the M1503 section, the item may have been previously marked as missing and should be checked in.

Is the call number label damaged or otherwise illegible?

  • If no, continue reading.
  • If yes, bring the item to the Circ Desk for processing.


  • Books should remain upright and remain in line with each other on the shelves. This process is called blocking. 
  • Eliminate large gaps between books.
  • Shelf reading and blocking go hand in hand. Do them together.
Watch the video below for a demonstration of how shelf reading should look (courtesy of UAA.)