RE: open shelving

Breivold, Scott (SBreivo@exchange.calstatela.edu)
Tue, 2 Jul 2002 12:01:50 -0700 (PDT)

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IMHO,

I think open shelving of media is great if you're a public library . . . but
I would not recommend it in an academic setting. I don't know about your
situation, but I have found that priority of media collection access is
given to faculty who want to use media in classroom instruction....and they
like to come in and get things "spontaneously" so you want things to be on
the shelf as much as possible.

As soon as you put videos out on open shelves, they start to "mysteriously
disappear." I don't mean they're getting stolen necessarily, but if a
student decides they want exclusive access to a tape, they'll hide it
somewhere in the library. An item that's not on the shelf at the point of
need may as well be stolen. There is also the issue of shelf maintenance to
consider.

It's a trade-off really....do you want to allow students to browse and pay
students to work at a service desk and retrieve media materials for patrons;
or, do you want to invest in security packaging, tags, gates, desensitizing
equipment, etc. and pay students to constantly shelf-read and "hunt down"
missing videos?

In my previous position at GMU, we went from closed media stacks to an open
media collection and while it seemed like good PR and patrons did like to
browse, it ultimately became a nightmare when faculty were trying to locate
a video for class and it couldn't be found. They started resorting to
putting tons of material on course reserve! With the opening of our new
Music & Media Center here at Cal State LA, I recommended the closed stacks
scenario for the reasons I've outlined above.....we just try and do a better
job of teaching students how to "browse" the collections using the online
catalog.

My several cents,

Scott Breivold ~ Media Services Librarian
JFK Memorial Library ~ Cal State LA
323-343-6094 (voice) 323-343-5600 (fax)
Visit the Music & Media Center on the web:
http://www.calstatela.edu/library/mmc

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RE: open shelving

IMHO,

I think open shelving of media is great if you're a = public library . . . but I would not recommend it in an academic = setting.  I don't know about your situation, but I have found that = priority of media collection access is given to faculty who want to use = media in classroom instruction....and they like to come in and get = things "spontaneously" so you want things to be on the shelf = as much as possible. 

As soon as you put videos out on open shelves, they = start to "mysteriously disappear."  I don't mean they're = getting stolen necessarily, but if a student decides they want = exclusive access to a tape, they'll hide it somewhere in the = library.  An item that's not on the shelf at the point of need may = as well be stolen.  There is also the issue of shelf maintenance = to consider. 

It's a trade-off really....do you want to allow = students to browse and pay students to work at a service desk and = retrieve media materials for patrons; or, do you want to invest in = security packaging, tags, gates, desensitizing equipment, etc. and pay = students to constantly shelf-read and "hunt down" missing = videos? 

In my previous position at GMU, we went from closed = media stacks to an open media collection and while it seemed like good = PR and patrons did like to browse, it ultimately became a nightmare = when faculty were trying to locate a video for class and it couldn't be = found.  They started resorting to putting tons of material on = course reserve!  With the opening of our new Music & Media = Center here at Cal State LA, I recommended the closed stacks scenario = for the reasons I've outlined above.....we just try and do a better job = of teaching students how to "browse" the collections using = the online catalog.

My several cents,

Scott Breivold ~ Media Services Librarian
JFK Memorial Library ~ Cal State LA
323-343-6094 (voice)   323-343-5600 = (fax)
Visit the Music & Media Center on the = web:
http://www.calstatela.edu/library/mmc

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