Re: shelving for current periodicals SMURDEN@VCUVAX.BITNET 09 May 1991 17:19 UTC

I wish I could alleviate Marcia's concern, but in our experience, it is
justified.  When I started here, 4 years ago, the unbound periodicals at our
medical library were shelved on hinged shelves.  We switched to flat shelving,
based on space needs, but are very glad we did it.  The old shelving seemed to
be particularly prone to breaking; once one of those suckers will no longer
"unhinge" properly, it can be almost impossible to lift them without spilling
everything on the shelf.  Also, shelf reading and bindery pulling were much
more time consuming, becasue every shelf had to be lifted to really see what
was behind it.  In addition, the issues had a real tendency to fall off the
back of the shelves and end up buried between or under the shelving units.  It
sounds as though Marcia's arrangement will be slightly different. however,
with "bins" instead of flat shelving behind the hinged units.  As I said, we
made the decision based on space needs; we moved the entire collection into an a
   rea that had less square footage.  The hinged shelving accomodated fewer titl
per range, so the logical decision was to go to flat shelving for all of the
issues.  The decision was met with strong opposition from our reference
librarians, as well as many of our regular patrons.  Ultimately, however, we
and they (at least the patrons) have come to see the decision as a good one.
It is much easier to locate specific issues of a title, since we stack them
with the spine label out, most recent issue on top.  Also, there is very little
random browsing in such a specialized collection.  Our periodicals are not
classified (which is another story unto itself) and are shelved alphabetically.
The ability to see, at a glance, the covers of Spine and Gut was never really
very useful.  The hinged shelving is certainly used effectively in a public
library setting and could perhaps be effective in an academic library with
a large undergraduate population.  If the administration's rationale for
using this shelving is the "attractiveness" of the collection, I suspect they
will be mistaken.  The latest issues may look very pretty all lined up on
shelves, but there may be chaos lurking behind them.  Sorry for the run-on
response, but this one struck a real nerve with me.  I'll also be very
interested to hear the experiences of others, especially those that contradict
my experiences.

Steve Murden
Virginia Commonwealth University