All You Need to Know About Shelving in School Libraries

A small boy is holding a stack of books in his hands and taking a book out from a shelf in the library.
All You Need to Know About Shelving in School Libraries

Shelves are very important for any library! We all know how important it is to organize books. Improper arrangements will give a bad experience for the user. The main objective of any library is to provide an efficient service with adequate resources to customers. Thus, library shelving has to be properly designed and must pass the resilience and life expectancy test. Inspace school furnitures is the best library bookshelves manufacturer in Chennai, capable of fabricating shelves of varying dimensions based on the needs of any customer.

Guidelines to be Followed by School Libraries While Installing Shelves

The learning space in the library is influenced by the design of the shelf. Schools must follow certain steps before investing in library shelves in order to establish a positive learning environment for students. The three major steps involved are planning the layout, choosing the style, and calculating the requirements. Let us discuss them in detail for better understanding.

Planning the Layout

Shelves are crucial to improve the library’s aesthetics. You must draw a rough plan, visualise how to best use the resources, and develop a warm and welcoming library environment. Make use of accessories like signage or displays to attract users and engage them in an effective way. It is the primary step to ensure that a library has more space for comfortable seating and performing other activities conveniently. Extra shelves are essential if there are a lot of books.

Choosing the Style

Shelves are of various styles, and each kind offers a different type of display and storage facility. Some of the commonly used library shelf styles are:

  • Wall-mounted
  • Roll-away
  • Free-standing

You can customise a library shelf as per your requirement and intermix the styles. For instance, placing a browser bin or sloped shelf on a flat shelf works best with face-out displays. To be more specific while choosing the right shelf style, follow the points mentioned here.

  • Flat or horizontal shelves are ideal for any resource.
  • Sloped and canopy shelves can feature face-out displays. On the contrary, sloped shelves can hold all kinds of resources and thematic displays.
  • Big books or picture books are displayed in a better way with free-standing shelves.
  • Reference, non-fiction, and picture books are suitable for divider shelves.
  • Indicator blocks are useful for shelf labeling.
  • Separate units for display and storage, like book spinners, are ideal for picture and paperback books.
  • Single-faced shelves can hold books only on one side and are placed against a wall, whereas double-faced shelves can hold books on both sides.

Thus, analyse library shelves’ advantages, flexibility, and functionality and choose the appropriate one for your library. Consider adjustable shelves over fixed or built-in ones as they offer more benefits to the user.

Calculating the Requirements

Any library must have shelves to accommodate magazines, newspapers, books, games, CDs/DVDs, and other accessories. After you decide on the shelving type and plan the layout, you can calculate the number of shelves your library space will need. But if you want to replace the existing shelves, consider the steps mentioned here.

  • Remove the existing shelf
  • Calculate the resources
  • Determine the extra requirements like indicator blocks, signs, display stands, etc.
  • Draft and plan the layout with the help of shelving suppliers
  • Finalise and obtain quotes

All You Need to Know About Stacking System & Principles

Stack books in such a way that they effectively meet the user’s needs. When stacking, the following guidelines have to be essentially followed. They are:

  • Design shelves with a height that anyone will be able to access easily.
  • The stacking should utilise the space in the best possible way with minimum wastage.
  • Bookshelves must have sufficient vacant spaces in order to facilitate ventilation.
  • The stacks must be adjustable to hold books of varying sizes.
  • The books must gain enough natural light.
  • Shelves have to be functional, durable, and attractive.
  • The stacking system should offer provision for the library’s growth in the future.

Thus, space is the main criterion to consider while designing or choosing library shelves. Sufficient space on the bookshelves will allow the users to access the library space easily. The various kinds of stacking systems are:

Hinged Stacks

Hinged stacks have two shelves that are hinged together on one side. One shelf is secured, and the other is placed in front of a fixed shelf.

Fixed Shelves Having Double Rows

Regular fixed shelves arranged in double rows increase the library’s capacity to accommodate books. However, they have a downside: it is difficult for users to locate books.

Rolling Stacks

Rolling stacks are used to optimize space. They are made of metal and mounted on wheels with ball bearings.

Compact Shelves

A compact shelf is ideal for a library with a small space. It has a fixed shelf with a stack on either side to hold large volumes of books.

Top Benefits Associated With Investing in Library Shelves

The library is the biggest blessing for any school or educational institution. If you design a library, you can make it more functional. Now let us discuss the top benefits of spending money on library shelves.

Good Organization

As the library is a place filled with numerous paperwork, books, periodicals, and DVDs, shelving is very important. If you want to organize the different things in a library in a manner that is easily accessible for users, you should never ignore investing in proper shelves. You can pour in your creativity to make the search easy for students.

Easy Identification

Shelves can make the identifying process simple for users. If you use various patterns, designs, and colours, segregate the books and store them as it will make way for people to get to their desired book without much effort. Thus, all you have to do here is to paint the shelves in different colours and categorize the books accordingly.

Saves Energy & Time

Library shelves save the energy and time of the users. When the books are neatly organized and stored on the racks, it becomes very easy for anyone to spot the desired item from the library without wasting time and energy.

Better Accessibility

Library space does not mean only to house books. Proper storage improves accessibility in all forms. If the shelves are designed correctly, they create better access to books without letting the user put in more effort.


Library shelves are a type of storage solution which is always economical. They accommodate a huge number of books without costing you much. Thus, before considering any other storage solution, it is always best to give priority to shelves.

The Bottom-line

As library shelving is all about offering proper physical access to the available books in the library, you have to plan properly and manage them efficiently. Do not take maintenance for granted. Pan special storage spaces for microforms, CDROMs, and audio-visual materials. Ensure that users find the library user-friendly. Inspace school furniture produces the best library bookshelves in Chennai, which are easy to maintain and last a lifetime. Most importantly, consider all the tips mentioned above and make a wise purchase if you want to invest in a library shelf. Understand that shelves are the brain of any library, which helps to accentuate its interior space and resource quality.

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