Wednesday, October 01, 2008

so many books, so little shelf space

Once again I find myself in the place many many libraries/librarians find themselves - without space. Things were totally fine this summer when about half the Teen fiction collection was checked out, but now that school has started again and people have returned all their books my shelves are overflowing. I'm basically at capacity. I've got to weed hard and heavy if I want the new books I'm constantly ordering to fit. So I am. I'm weeding books that haven't checked out in a year OR that have an avg circ of less than 3-4 checkouts a year during their "lifetime". Sadly this still isn't going to free up as much space as I need. This seems like heavy weeding to me - but is it really? What are other libraries with limited space doing?

Here's why this is a depressing problem that is never going to go away (unless something miraculous happens). Our budget is split up largely by circ stats. I have a pretty decent budget and I get to buy lots of awesome things for the teen collection. These awesome things circ well. I get rid of what I can through weeding, to make room for more awesome things, but it still doesn't leave me with enough room. I have no where to grow. I have very little space to display. I've already staked out as much of the library as I can for the foreseeable future. Where do I put the books?!?


Jacob said...

Hi, I am a college student in a digital design class. I have recently been given the task of designing a library. I was wondering specifically how much shelf space do you have/how many volumes do you have? I am trying to figure out how much shelf space to put into the building. In your experiences with libraries are there any traits that you love about your building? Any that you hate? Any ideas that you would like to see go into a new building? Thanks so much.

Anna said...

Hi Jacob,
I have lots of things I'd like to see in a new building! We've definitely out grown the building we're in. I'm sure it was great 20 yrs ago when it was built, but now we're tight in every way. I don't know how in depth your assignment will be, but here are some things I'd like/think are important: considering how sound travels (this is a big problem at my library), lighting ( I can't stress how important this is), attention to making things aesthetically pleasing and not sterile, meeting/programming rooms (big ones), sufficient break rooms, enough space to designate quiet and loud areas - perhaps separate study rooms, room for LOTS of computers. One of the things I really like about my library is that our children and adult areas are on different floors. Our library was not planned with a separate teen area in mind, so we've had to carve out space where we could. You'll definitely want a separate teen area and you'll want to consider how sound travels and how close you are to adults and their cranky attitudes.

I'm working on getting those numbers for you. Is this the kind of info you're looking for? Let me know if there's anything else I can do to help. Feel free to email me at work: