Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Non-print equipment & services: Notes on processing, storage/shelving, circulation and scheduling of non-print materials

“A change is inadvertently being forced on traditional library practices because of the number of accompanying materials arriving in the library. These materials are placing new demands on management and the organization of libraries because they are exerting pressure on shelving space, affecting circulation, cataloguing and labeling, impacting on security as well as creating the need to devise stable and effective protective enclosures.”

Those Pesky Accompanying Materials

Library materials in all formats – books, periodicals, videos, microforms, sound recordings, CD-ROMs, etc. – have to be physically processed before they are “shelf-ready”. Depending on the type of the material, this may entail adding spine labels, date due slips, circulation cards and pockets, bar codes and security strips, ownership markings, protective cases and covers and/or reinforcements. Physical processing makes materials ready for circulation and prolongs their shelf life.

Procedures for processing nonprint depend on policy decisions for collection organization, e.g. if nonprint items are shelved in open stacks packaging becomes important. Often a manufacturer does not provide packaging or it is not sturdy enough for circulation necessitating repackaging.
Often overlooked when acquiring nonprint materials is the cost of processing supplies such as containers sturdy enough to withstand circulation and shelving.

Labeling for circulation may present a problem for some formats due to their size, shape and properties. For CDs, if a label is removed, the polycarbonate (reflective) side can be stripped from the CD making it inoperable. Glue from labels can seep through to the polycarbonate and accelerate the destruction of the CD. Some say even the pressure of writing with an inedible felt tip pen on the inner hub causes problems of ink eventually bleeding into the polycarbonate surface (Those Pesky Accompanying Materials)
For further information of processing check out the following resources:
Driessen, Karen C. and Shelia A. Smyth. A Library Manager’s Guide to the Physical Processing of Nonprint Materials. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1995.

Radford University Library. Physical Processing of Non-print Materials.

Schaffer Library, Union College. Cataloguing Procedures. http://www.unio.edu/PUBLIC/LIBRARY/TS/catproc.html

Non-book storage
Universal considerations

The following storage and care practices are universally accepted for all non-book formats.
  • Protective circulation containers are used
  • There is an established care and maintenance program
  • Users are debriefed on proper care (verbally or in writing)
  • Smoking, drinking, and eating are prohibited where materials are handled or stored
  • Smoke, heat, and water detectors operate around the clock
  • Air conditioning with a filtration system is used
  • Materials are protected from ultraviolet sunlight and unshielded fluorescent lighting
  • The temperature and relative humidity is recorded periodically
  • Basements and uninsulated attics particularly are avoided as storage areas
  • Storage cases are away from heat sources to avoid extremes in temperature and relative humidity
  • Shelving is away from outer walls
  • Each format is spot-checked once a year for deterioration and damage
  • Temperature and relative humidity gauges are available
    John W. Ellison. Non-Book Storage.


Traditional: separate “closed stack” shelving of each type of material according to format.

Advantages Disadvantages
Greater staff control over who has access to what Inefficient use of time in retrieving items
Faster shelving if each type of media is stored in one areaCost of purchasing special storage units
Storing by format possible which may save spaceDecreased use (out of sight out of mind)

Partial integration: integration of nonprint only in separate open stacks, with print shelved in separate section

Advantages Disadvantages
Nonprint interfiled in one open access areaTwo-stop versus one-stop shopping
No need to purchase specialized storage unitsNonprint may be seen as having a different function from print materials
Nonprint area could be located close to equipment needed for usePotential for decreased use of both print and nonprint

Total integration: total interfiling of materials regardless of format

Advantages Disadvantages
All items on a particular subject together and retrievable in one searchShelves look "messy"
May appeal to nonreaders or those who learn better through sight or soundFear of theft and damage
May increase circulation of all itemsNonprint items take up proportionally more space on shelves
Increased cost of processing
Equipment for use of materials in library may not be located close by
Not everyone is interested in searching through everything

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