Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Student Worker Expectations: Shelf Reading

This LibGuide is devoted solely to student library worker expectations.

Shelf Reading

Shelf Reading is a nonglamorous, but essential student worker job.

Shelf Reading Basics

Shelf reading is needed to make sure the library runs smoothly and that patrons are getting the most out of the library. Shelf reading is a way to maintain proper order within the collection. Shelf reading is done by scanning the shelves to make sure that the books are in proper call number order.


There are five things to look at when shelf reading:

  • Books out of order by call number
  • Books shelved in the wrong location (such as Reference or Juvenile books in the main collection)
  • Books placed on top of other books, outside of bookends or books that have fallen behind the books on the shelf you are reading
  • Books that are damaged or missing spine labels
  • Books that are shelved but owned by a different library (such as Wellesley or Framingham Public)


  • If you find books that are damaged or belong to a different library, please bring those books up to the circulation desk and give them to a supervisor. If we are not here, leave the items on our desk with a note.


  • If a book is misfiled, then move it to the right spot in the collection


  • Each person will be assigned a certain call range (ex: A-BF) that they will be responsible for maintaining.


  • You will be expected to shelf read for 20-30 minutes each shift (as long as there is double coverage). The supervisors will be inspecting your sections from time to time, so make sure you keep your assigned shelves neat and in order.