Shelving Of Library Material In College Libraries

Project and Seminar Material for Library and Information Science

Shelving Of Library Material In College Libraries


This research work examined shelving of library materials in college libraries with Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo and FECOLART as comparative study. Data was collected through a combination of questionnaire and documentary sources. The questionnaire, which was the major instrument for data collection, was designed to elicit information relevant to the research questions and objectives.

The data obtained were analyzed and results show that shelving of library materials were undertaken by Para-professionals and recommendation was made that shelving of library materials should be done by Para-professional under the strict supervision of professional librarians.

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Overview

Shelving of library materials is a veritable technique that ensures that books and other information materials are kept on the correct shelves after the materials have been processed at the Technical Services Section or after material have been consulted by users.

In every library, information materials are arranged on the shelves according to a definite plan. Shelving is defined as the process of returning processed or used books to the appropriate shelves from the cataloguing/classification section and reading tables respectively, while shelf-reading is the act of examining books kept on the shelves to see that they are properly shelved and in their correct positions on the shelves.

However, in shelving library materials, efforts are made to put them according to the symbols of classification call-number in shelving of library materials, there is need to ascertain the positioning of the materials. The college library is an important institution in the academic environment. These are libraries found in institution of higher learning which are completely devoted to the academic activities which are usually in line with the objectives of the parent institution therefore, shelving of books in the academic library is an activity aimed at facilitating the dissemination as well as retrieval of information.

Apparently shelving in college libraries is among the routines which constitute the non-professional jobs in the library because it is usually carried out by support staff like library assistants, library attendants and library officers.
However, in order to avoid or minimize mis-shelving and other shelving errors, shelving should be supervised by experienced professional staff especially the readers services librarian, circulation librarian and serials/documents librarian.

1.2 Historical Background of College Libraries Under Study

Background of FECOLART

Federal College of land Resources Technology Owerri (FECOLART) was established by the federal government of Nigeria 1981. This empowered the college to maintain library. The library officer was appointed in 1991 and by the time the college was opened for classes during the 1991/92 academic session, the library has about 50 volume of collection. Presently the stock of the library is over 1,000 volumes and journals. The staff of the library was about (6) six staffs. However, the services and resources provided by the college libraries under study includes: orientation of new users, instruction of the use of the library inter-library loan services, readers advisory services, Bindery and Reprographic Service etc.

Background of Imo State Polytechnic Umuagwo

The Imo State Polytechnic Umuagwo as it is currently called now was not meant to be higher institution. It is for training tractor drivers and later, the idea of converting it to a college of Agriculture was Initiated. The place later was changed from a college of Agriculture in 1982 with Dr. I.N. Izugbokwe as the first rector. Later the school was accredited by National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) to train middle level man-power such as OND and HND. The school has had series of rectors and acting rectors like Prof. Ohiazu, Prof Osuji and Mr. Amadioha who is the current Rector of the Polytechnic. The school was changed from Micheal Okpara College to State Polytechnic Umuagwo in 2007 by Imo State Governor Chief Ikedi Ohakim.

Furthermore, this school was not established without a library. The library which was single handedly by set-out by Mr. M.K. Njoku came into existence in 1982 when the school was changed from a place of training tractor driver to Micheal Okpara College of Agriculture. The library has a total number of 16 staff, 2 professionals and 14 non professional. The two professionals are Mr. Mathew Nwokeke and Mr. M.K. Njoku who has been the college librarian from 1982 till date. The library however receives materials from FOA and other international bodies. The different section of the library includes the followings: Circulation Department, Acquisition Department Cataloguing/Classification Department, Administration Department, Serial Department and Internet Centre.

1.3 Aim and Purposes of the Study

The study is being carried out in partial fulfillment of the requirements heading to the award of the Higher National Diploma (HND) certificate.

It will also serve as a guideline for students and researchers that may wish to carryout further research in this area of study.

1.4 Objectives of the Study

The specific objectives of this study are as follows:

  1. To find out it the two college libraries do shelved their library materials.
  2. To find out how often the two college libraries shelve their library materials.
  3. To identify the methods used in shelving library materials in the two college libraries.
  4. To compare the type of materials shelved in two college libraries.
  5. To assess the impacts of shelving use of library materials.
  6. To identify the problems associated with shelving of library materials.
  7. To identify the categories of staff involved in shelving library materials.

1.5 Research Questions

In an effort to generate data on this study, these researches were formulated.

  1. Does your library shelve their library materials?
  2. How often do you shelve your library materials?
  3. What methods do you apply when shelving library materials
  4. What type of shelf do you use in your library
  5. What are the type of materials shelved in your library
  6. Does shelving of library materials have any impacts on the use of library materials which categories of library staff are involved in shelving of library materials?

1.6 Scope / Limitation of the Study

The research centres on shelving of library materials in college libraries with particular reference to two college libraries in Imo State; Imo State Polytechnic Library Umuagwo and Federal College of land Resources Technology Owerri. Another obvious limitation is that of time constraint distance between the two schools as well as financial constraints. Generating data was a strong constraint as much literature has not emphasized so much on library shelving as a practice.

1.7 Significance of the Study

The study will help in identifying the problems associated with shelving of library materials and proper possible solution to these problems.

However, there are those who stand to benefit from study, they includes among others, staff, users etc.

1.8 Methodology

To have a reliable research the method to be used in carrying out research work ought to be stated, thus the research is the case study of FECOLART and Imo State Polytechnic Umuagwo. The method to be used in collection of data for this project includes, use of the three methods of data capturing techniques there are:

  1. Gathering of data through visits
  2. Use of oral interview
  3. Administration of questionnaire.

1.9 Operational Definition of Terms


Library activity that involved placing books, documents and other information materials on the appropriate shelves.


The act of examining books on the shelves to see that they are in correct order on the shelves.

Circulation Section:

This section is service points designed to circulate library materials effectively.

College Libraries:

Libraries attached to institution of higher learning like college of education also referred to as academic libraries.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

This research work examined shelving of library materials in college libraries with Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo and FECOLART as comparative study.

Survey research design was employed for the study and with aid of convenient sampling selected sixty-five (65) participant as the sample size for this study. The sources of data collection was both primary and secondary with the application of questionnaires as an instrument to gather the necessary data. The questionnaires were properly completed as well returned by only 50 respondent after being administered and this was a basis by which the primary data were collected. Textbooks, journals, articles, law reports, newspapers publications, were collected as secondary data, and also limitations to the study were indicated. Primary data collated was analyzed using frequencies and tables and the result were similar to those of the responses drawn from the questionnaires.

5.2 Conclusion

Shelving and shelf reading are inevitable tasks, if order is to be maintained in our academic libraries. Users make use of the library resources, particularly books, on a daily basis, and in most cases during weekends. Therefore, the need to promptly reshelve consulted materials cannot be over-emphasized, else other users might be denied the opportunity to locate and retrieve such materials with ease.Thus, shelving staff must be encouraged and motivated not to relent in carrying out this important daily routine, which tells much about the worth of a library. Shelving staff can be motivated through on-the- job commendation, confirmation of appointment/promotion, when due, in-house training and attendance of conferences, seminars, workshops and even study leave with or without pay, depending on the number of years served and the policy of the institution concerned. Their challenges should also be addressed to serve as an impetus for optimum performance. It is a rule that library users are not allowed to shelf back consulted library materials, therefore, the shelvers must be up and doing as an unshelved material is as good as being lost to users. Findings from the study concludes that Shelving remains a sine qua non to the successful use of library resources.

5.3 Recommendations

Based on the findings of the study and their attendant implications, the following recommendations are made: •

  1. Library management should give adequate training to shelving staff before they are assigned to shelves. During this training, the importance of accurate and timely shelving should be emphasized. In addition to this, training should also include health care talks because shelving entails repetitive actions which can cause muscle fatigue, strain on the eyes, neck and back.
  2. Motivation should be put in-place such as rewarding the most accurate and best shelving staff at the end of the year.
  3. Opportunity should also be given to shelving staff to contribute their input and develop a shelving policy for the library so that they can have a sense of belonging.
  4. In order to combat the psychological effects of status on shelving staff, they should be made to understand that librarians have more professional duties to attend to; every staff has his/her area of specialization which should be attended to so that the whole system will function and fulfill its goal.
  5. Innovations should be introduced to shelving; this will reduce the staff stress and negate any odd feelings.
  6. In addition equipment that can reduce staff stress should be acquired by the library management, and finally, volunteers can be involved in shelving.

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