Please Do Not Shelve the Books

I feel like all my readers know by now that I’m a librarian in my hometown, which is awesome considering it’s been what I wanted since I was sixteen years old. It took me a while to get here, but I did and for the most part, I love it. Of course being a librarian comes with its frustrations, as does any job that entails working with the public.

One of these issues is shelving books. Not librarians shelving books, but patrons trying to be helpful and shelve books. Usually, it’s anything but helpful.

Part of our jobs as librarians is to keep the stacks organized. It’s not the task most of us are after, but it helps when we’re trying to help patrons find a book they’re looking for, or when they’re searching on their own. Heck, I organize my own shelves at home by author for fiction and the Dewey Decimal System for my tiny non-fiction collection. It’s not hard, and I don’t blame patrons for wanting to help by shelving books they decide they don’t want, but…

Please don’t shelve the books yourself.

You know, unless you’re putting them back exactly where you got them from.

More often than not, this isn’t the case. People just like to put books down wherever they want instead of taking the extra five steps to the librarian nearby and saying, “I’m actually not going to take this one.” Instead, we find that patrons just put a book on the end of the shelf, a nearby shelf, or just on any random shelf, really. I know we have one patron who does this all. the. time. and could care less that we have signs that say to, “please place books on the cart and do not reshelf books.” If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my five years as a librarian, it’s that people do not read signs… at all.

Unless you put the book back exactly where you got it from, like some people do at the bookstore, it’s just easier to place a book on our return carts and let the librarians put the books back (or our student interns, that’s why we have them). It’s easier for patrons who have a ton of books in their hands and it’s easier for patrons and librarians looking for a particular book later on.

I didn’t write this post to complain, just to inform. Though I’m pretty sure most bookworms are already aware of this since bookworms are just as finicky about book organization as librarians.

My fellow librarians, what are some pet peeves you have in the workplace?

8 thoughts on “Please Do Not Shelve the Books

  1. ajspinelli419 says:

    One of the worst things. I’ve worked in a library before and now as a bookseller, it’s still an issue. Especially if we only have one copy of something and a customer decided to leave it in a random section rather than our designated areas to place books or to a service desk.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mehsi says:

    Good article, and I agree. I have seen some funny book reshelves though, not that it is good, but sometimes it does bring me some giggles seeing where people put books. Here most libraries don’t have carts or places designated for peeps who don’t want x book anymore, so while I don’t agree with just putting them anywhere, I can also imagine why they do it, especially at the libraries that have multiple floors.

    Liked by 1 person

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