SPEC Kit 337: Print Retention Decision Making · 89
Collection Maintenance
Collection Maintenance
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ColleCtion MaintenanCe
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About Collection Maintenance
Collection Maintenance maintains the collection in Pattee Library and Paterno Library and also assists the University Park Branch
Libraries with collection redistribution and other projects. The operation is responsible for maintaining materials on more than 32.5
miles of shelves in Pattee and Paterno.
Every day the staff works in the main sorting area. Here books that have been returned are separated before being taken to their
proper places on the shelves. The staff also goes to every floor and shelves the material for use by patrons. When classes are in
session the staff handles an average of 15,500 books per week. During the final days of each semester the number of books being
returned and used in the buildings skyrockets. Other daily duties include:
Retrieving books from the book return
Transferring new and rebound material to their proper locations
Returning the materials used daily by Interlibrary Loan to their places on the shelves
Remaining alert for mechanical, safety and security problems
In addition to the daily duties, the staff also engages in ongoing projects and responds to problems affecting the availability of the
collection such as shelf reading and shifting materials.
If materials are not in proper sequence they become lost amid over 32.5 miles of shelving. When shelf reading, the staff goes through
large areas of the collection checking every book to make sure that it falls in its proper sequence on the shelves, so that patrons can
find it with ease.
Every two years the staff measures the entire collection. The unit manager then uses the gathered data to calculate collection growth
and dynamics. For such a large amount of material the collection is surprisingly fluid and experiences constant growth and
movement. Shifting is the project that responds to the collection's need for physical space. When an area gets crowded or congested
the materials may become damaged. The staff "shifts" the collection according to the space projections so that the life span of the
materials is not shortened.
In short, the overall job of Collection Maintenance is to make sure that the collection can be accessed by all patrons with the greatest
possible ease. Whether a piece of material is new, has been used in-house, or has circulated outside the Libraries, the Stacks staff
will have handled it at some point.
The Stacks
The Libraries' materials are organized primarily by the Library of Congress classification system, but large amounts of material are
also organized using the Superintendent of Documents and Educational Cutter systems. These systems place a vast amount of
material into a framework that makes the collection manageable for University Libraries patrons.
Every piece of material in Penn State's collection has one, and only one, place in a very specific sequence. If stretched out into one
Collection Maintenance
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long line the collection is over 32.5 miles long, and each piece of material has its own particular place in that sequence.
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