Wednesday, August 26, 2009

From the Suggestion Box: Why are audiobooks on the bottom shelves? I can't reach them.

I am sorry that you had difficulty reaching the items you wanted. Library staff are available to help you access items. Just ask at any service desk or any staffer who is in the stacks!

In a perfect world, everything in the Library would be shelved at a height between the knees and eye level of the average adult. But we do not live in a perfect world. Our reality is that the Library building here in Plainfield was designed to house a maximum of 65,000 items. The Library currently owns over 125,000 items. This means that we have to use the bottom shelves and the top shelves, and every shelf in between.

When any new library is built, the top and bottom shelves are generally unused, providing space for the growth of that library's collection. As the collection grows, those shelves are filled until there are no unused shelves. This is the situation that the Plainfield Library is in today. Some of you may remember when the Fiction collection was divided by genres, with things like Romance and Mystery in separate sections. Because that requires space between collections, the decision was made to interfile the Fiction collections, reclaiming the shelves that used to separate the genre collections to maximize the amount of items shelved.

The shelving project slated to begin in September will continue to add shelves for our collections at the expense of accessibility. The new shelving will be the tallest available. Keeping up with the recreational and informational needs of the community is our goal. To do that, the collection must continue to grow. As it does, space is at a premium. Every inch of shelf space will continue to be used at the Plainfield Library for the foreseeable future.

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