How to Shelve Books in a Library

It is important for librarians to place books in a structural or logical system so people can find the books easily. In case the books are not placed in an order, you will never be able to find the book you desired. Most of the libraries use Dewey decimal system. However, many universities and colleges use Congress Classification System. This system lets libraries to categorize and divide books, magazines, journals and other media so people can easily locate the books. Learning to shelve a book is compulsory in case you are going to work in a library.


  • 1

    Spine label of the books

    First of all you need to check the spine label of the books. On a library book, you will first see a catalogue number, then the opening three letters of authors’ last name and in the end edition and year of publication. When you place the label on the spine of a book, it is ready to be shelved.

  • 2

    Book shelf end labels

    Next you need to watch the labels on the end of book shelves. By this you will be able to know the classification of books on that row. Remember that these shelves are placed parallel to each other in a library. This is to ease seeking and shelving of the collection in that area.

  • 3

    Seek the right section

    You need to find the right section of the books you are shelving. You can do this by looking and comparing the hundreds column. After you find the correct section, you need to further seek in the tens columns and in the end see in the ones column.

  • 4

    Seek the three characters of author’s last name

    Next you need to watch out for all three characters of the author’s last name. You need to find it in the numerical section. After seeking what you desire, you can now shelve the book. This will be the correct place to shelve that particular book.

  • 5

    Shelving journals and newspapers

    In order to shelve journals and newspapers, you need to arrange them according to the date. Later place the journals and newspapers with the latest edition on the top. The older issues will be placed in the bottom.

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