Re: open shelving

Frank Haulgren (
Tue, 2 Jul 2002 11:52:22 -0700 (PDT)

Lisa -
We have had our video collection in open stacks for several years
now. VHS and DVD are inter-filed by LC call number. The video-store
mentality does cause some confusion among users though who expect that
vids will be in title order.

Tapes are secured using 3Ms video tape security strips applied directly to
the cassette. We also apply a property label and barcode directly to the
cassette. We use the newer 3M security rings on our DVDs. These fit
around the center hole of the DVD on the label side. Our collection is
about 5,000 pieces and yes, unfortunately we have had some theft in the
last couple of years. Primarily from the feature film section of the

Last winter we were hit by a systematic theft in which someone removed
cinephile titles from their cases - leaving the empty cases on the
shelves. About 18 DVDs and VHS tapes were taken over a couple of weeks.
We never did "solve" the case but the stealing stopped when Christmas
break started. That's been our worst incident. At the other end of
things we found two copies of Electra Glide in Blue on our shelves this
week sans case - the tapes and cover inserts were neatly shelved but the
clear vinyl cases had been taken. ????

We hope to get funding for a major remodel of the A/V area making it more
secure - reducing 3 exits from the area to one and installing a security
point. We will then require checkout of vids before leaving the A/V area.

We've been able to replace most of the stolen and otherwise damaged or
lost videos using a portion of our fine monies that is set aside as a
replacement fund. Given that vids are more vulnerable to damage and wear
out faster than print materials seem to we charge a higher fine ($1.00
day) on vids to support this fund. It also makes the selectors more
comfortable with the open stacks arrangement since the cost of replacing
something generally doesn't come out of their acquisitions money.

Hoep this helps,

Frank Haulgren
ILL / Media & Microforms / Document Delivery
Wilson Library
Western Washington University
Bellingham, WA 98225-9103
Phone 360-650-7641 FAX 360-650-7397

On Tue, 2 Jul 2002, Lisa Flanzraich wrote:

> We are seriously considering open shelving from a closed shelving system.
> Students would be able to find the videos they want through the call number.
> We are an academic library. Are there academic libraries out there that have open
> video shelving? What kind of security devices do you use to prevent theft? Do you
> use something like the Alpha Secure Case System? All feedback is appreciated.
> Thanks