Our patrons have certainly noticed that the Library’s opening days in the summer of 2017 were substantially reduced, when compared to the previous years. Also, books are piling up on the Reading Room tables. But those who have not looked at our posters announcing a conversion to another shelf-arrangement system, may altogether be puzzled with what they see.
Our open stack books have been arranged by 24 broad areas of knowledge. Any catalogue description contained information on the area, to which the book belonged. But can you tell, what is the arrangement within the areas? Yes, it is just an alphabetical list of book authors, or (in case of numerous authors) – book titles. In many cases, this is where a problem started – many books were located under kodeks or ustawa, so it took a very careful examination of several subsequent thus marked copies to locate the needed item.
Normally, library open stacks use some classification to keep books in order. Classification is a system where major categories (like Social Science) receive ramifications to describe the book contents in more detail. For instance, in Library of Congress Classification SOCIAL SCIENCE is marked as H (H meaning nothing, just a letter), issues of FAMILY, MARRIAGE AND WOMEN – as HQ, and a book on FEMINISM may receive a letters and digits: HQ1121. The name of book author is also coded, and a year is added at the end of this alphanumeric symbol, which is usually named CALL NUMBER, as it identifies a place of the book in the whole of the collections, and in addition serves as a finding tool.
Following most of American academic libraries, three major research libraries in Poland, and recently libraries of, for instance, Leiden University in the Netherlands or Nazarbaev University in Kazakhstan, Lazarski University Library also decided on Library of Congress Classification. For our patrons it means that when they rejoin us in October, they will find open stacks books arranged by unique symbols on labels. They will retrieve the symbol of the book they need from the catalogue, but as they already approach the book, they will see it surrounded by other books on kin topics. So the very shelf arrangement will provide you with additional literature which you may need currently or in the future, and it will instruct you about relations which exist between scientific issues.
We are going to put some 25,000 books (of all 82,000 copies that we hold) on open stacks. Most of them we have already classified, and designed the symbol layout for the intended white label. Now the labels are printed in a special machine on robust labels, and pasted onto book spines. Many additional tasks have to be included in this operation, and the inventory of all the books has to be taken at the end of the project. The shelves will be cleaned, too. And this our job for most of the summer!