serials shelving James Mouw 09 May 1991 19:25 UTC

My experiences with the flip-front shelving have been limited to my local
public library's small collection and in the small college library where I
had my first job.

As a user I love them.  It makes it very easy to scan the collection quickly
and to also have the back few issues handy right behind the front.

As a librarian at the small college I also didn't mind them.  I did notice
that these shelves to have a certain potential hazard for users.  The fronts,
especially the wooden ones, are not lightweight, and fingers can be pinched
either in the hinges or between the bottom of the front and the shelf.

Research library collections seem to be less suitable for this kind of
shelving, largely because of the sheer volume of materials and because a much
lower percentage of the journals sport "attractive" covers and we have less
of an interest in attracting browsers to interesting materials.  The common
solution in these libraries (including the University of Chicago Graduate
Library) is to shelve them on regular library shelving with the shelves place
fairly close together.

When I add up the figures of 3 journals per shelf in 5 shelf sections I
figure that it would take 200 sections to house 3000 journals.  That seems to
be A LOT of these units.

One solution might be to use this type of shelving for a specific portion of
the collection that can be segregated.  Another solution might be to
alternate shelving styles in the same range.  One flip-front section, one
regular section, etc.  This would still show some of the covers while
reducing the number of units necessary.

Jim Mouw
University of Chicago

Bitnet:                 uclmouw@uchimvs1