Thinking About Buying New Library Shelving? Here’s My Advice

In June of 2011, I purchased all new shelving for my library. It was difficult to figure out a whole new configuration, choose the type and colour etc., and on the whole I’m quite happy with my decisions. I like the heights I chose, the adjustable metal shelves, floor kickers (so nothing gets lost hidden underneath) and the solid tops and end panels.

However, the past 15 months have revealed a few things that I would now do differently.

If I Were to Do It All Over Again

I would get all freestanding shelving on wheels. It’s more expensive, but makes the space more flexible. I have to unload and pack up stacks to move them for the annual Book Fair and if it wasn’t so much trouble there are other events I would hold in the library. I’m going to ask our maintenance department to put solid bottoms with Very Strong Wheels on them, but I don’t know if it’s doable.

I would not buy the shelving company’s end panels, but would purchase the much more inexpensive slatwall sheets. I ended up needing a few more after we changed the configuration so, after hearing about the idea at a workshop, I bought slatwall from a retail supplier. Our maintenance department cut them to size and framed them and I purchased the fitting holders for end-of-range displays, which I love, although I’ve experimented with some different sizes and types and would not purchase some of them (the displayers) again.

I would buy shelving with some kind of backstop, especially on the back-to-back stacks. Books are always falling and pushing through. I have begun to collect  boxes from book wrap and long paper rolls to put between, but that will take forever and really doesn’t look that nice, so I expect to be able to purchase some kind of back-stops before that ever gets done.

I would definitely budget for installation. It was not worth the time and hassle involved in assembling it myself, begging volunteer help. It was difficult and it put the project days behind just as school was about to start.

*The fun numbers in this post are from Discovery Education’s Clip Art Gallery

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4 Comments

Filed under Library Management, Rethinking My Library

4 responses to “Thinking About Buying New Library Shelving? Here’s My Advice

  1. Sounds like a lot of work! Good of you to do it.

  2. We recently did an upgrade in our elementary Media Center and for the free standing shelving, I went all mobile. I love it.

    • Hello, Kathy. For some reason your comment went to the spam folder. Luckily I actually looked them over this time before I trash them.

      That is one of my biggest regrets. I wasn’t even aware that I could get them! Not enough research. I sill hope that I can get them modified with wheels. Thanks for stopping in to let everyone know that it is definitely the way to go.

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