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SLA Training -- Heterick Memorial Library

Updated: 2016/09/16


Shelve numerically until a decimal point is reached: 910 911 912 913 etc.
Then shelve by the first number following the decimal, then by the second, third, etc.
813.5                        333
813.5 2                     333. 0 9 7 3
813.5 2 0 8                 333. 1
813.5 4                     334
813.5 4 0 9                 335
The second portion of the call number is called the Cutter number, and starts with a letter.  Books with the same Dewey Decimal number are shelved by the Cutter number, alphabetically, then by the first number, second, third as with the decimals above:
191.4        191.4        191.4        191.4        191.4        191.4
B6442         B6497        B695        B695c        B695ce      C1
If you have books with the same Cutter number, but with letters at the end of the Cutter number, then shelve alphabetically. Ignore capitalization of letters and shelve strictly alphabetically.
On books having the same Dewey and Cutter numbers, if there is another line which is a date, shelve chronologically. If there are multiple copies, put in copy number order.  Volume numbers are also put in numerical order.
Read each book’s call number to make sure the books are in proper call number order.

Shelf Reading

Each SLA will be responsible for shelf reading.

SLAs need to fill out the log sheet each time they shelf read. Please indicate where you stop shelf reading each time so that the next SLA will know where to start when they next shelf read. The shelf reading log sheet is located next to the sign-in binder.

Shelf reading is usually assigned in 30 minute intervals. The ALA on duty will assign all activities.  Keep track of where you stopped shelf reading.  

The shelves are checked regularly by the ALAs and the PSL.


  • Read each book’s call number to make sure the books are in proper call number order
  • Make sure each shelf is neat in appearance and dust free.
  • Any books you find out of order must be taken to the circulation desk and immediately scanned for “count use” and then are to be placed on the HML return shelves.

Processing a Cart

Before books are returned to the shelves upstairs, they must be processed to make sure they have been checked in properly by following these steps

  • Put books on HML return shelves based on label/Dewey number
  • Fill a cart of books from the HML return shelves, placing books in Dewey Decimal order. 
  • Look up each book in the on-line catalog through the library home page, under the tab "Find Books &More"
  • Click arrow next to "Keyword" and select "Dewey Call No"
  • Type in the call number from the spine of the book
  • Check location for Popular or New Books; double check that location is correct for collection
  • Check to make sure the author and title correspond
  • Check to make sure the status says available
  • Check to make sure the item has been stamped returned (last date stamped in red)
  • If you can’t immediately shelve the cart, place “Ready” magnet on one end of the cart & leave cart by the back wall. It is preferred that each cart is shelved immediately following the processing step. At the end of the day, any cart not shelved will go in the elevator room.


Shelving a Cart

Books are shelved on an “as needed” basis. Upon receiving instruction from the ALA on duty, go to the HML return shelves. These shelves are located behind and to the right of the ALA desks. Then get an empty cart from the elevator room (located between the elevator and the emergency exit stairs on the first floor). Go through the shelves and make sure all are in correct Dewey Decimal order as you fill the top shelf of the cart. Only use the second shelf of the cart if by doing so you’ll be able to fit all the books on the return shelf. Otherwise, just fill the top shelf and leave the other books to another SLA. Take the cart to the public terminals and begin processing the books. 

It is perfectly acceptable to wear headphones and listen to music while shelving a cart, but it is asked the the music not be loud enough for any ears but your own.


If shelf is full, either move the books at the beginning of the shelf to the end of the shelf above OR move the books at the end of the shelf to the beginning of the shelf below. Shift which ever way makes the most sense.

If it looks like you will have to shift more than just that one shelf, please fill out a Shifting Form by the point.

  • Under the “Shelves” section, include the title of the book which would not fit, the barcode and the call number.
  • Place the form in the bookand give to ALA