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Wednesday, May 31 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
086. (Book and Paper) Teamwork in its best: the Stack Numbering Project at the Library of Congress

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The Library of Congress is the world's largest public library, containing 838 miles of shelving in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, and in off-site storage facilities. The nearly 23 million books, pamphlets, bound periodicals, and other printed and digital materials which are contained and maintained in these collections require space, organization, and specific locations for reference and effective monitoring purposes. Storage areas located on Capitol Hill are generally described by the building name, the floor number, and the side of the building (north or south) as reference points for staff working to locate collections items. The Collection Access, Loan and Management Division (CALM) of the Library is responsible for maintaining and serving the General Collections while ensuring, through appropriate security and preservation measures, that the collection will be available for future generations. Towards fulfilling this mission, in 2005 CALM initiated a process to improve the overall location of the materials in the stacks, numbering the main rows of the general collections storage areas within the John Adams and Thomas Jefferson Buildings. During the next ten years, this numbering system proved time-efficient for staff during space management, retrieval, or refiling projects, increasing the staff's productivity. More importantly, the new system proved vital for security by optimizing emergency preparedness and response time. During 2013 and 2016, the Collections Officer proposed and implemented a more detailed locating system based upon previous successful space management concepts introduced at the Library off-site storage facilities. This project added location numbers to each side of a main row and the sections of each row. The project was divided into two parts due to budget constraints and will be completed by mid-October 2016. Multiple teams worked to label the library stacks, execute quality control measures, and perform statistical analyses while also updating the majority of the floor plans. This endeavor to label roughly 93,000 sections across sixty-five decks required the application of 6,000 to 9,000 labels per week (approximately 1,090,000 labels in total). It also demanded physical labor, communication and collaboration among many custodial divisions storing their vast collections in these areas, flexibility, and superior time management. This paper will present how the Stacks Numbering Project at the Library of Congress will improve upon the institution's system of locating collection materials, thus benefiting a variety of stakeholders such as collections managers, library technicians, security personnel, and preservation experts. It will also address how these improvements in the stack numbering system will not only make the collections more accessible for researchers and the public but also minimize the response time of conservators, allowing items to be quickly located and preservation work to be carried out as soon as possible. Through major initiatives such as the Stacks Numbering Project, the Library of Congress is striving to remain at the forefront of collections management standards, designing and implementing plans and protocols to ensure the accessibility, longevity, and security of its nearly 162 million items.

Speaker(s)
avatar for Beatriz Haspo

Beatriz Haspo

Conservator, Library of Congress
Beatriz Haspo is a senior conservator specialized in logistics, space management, collections management, and disaster preparedness and response. She has certificates in book, paper and painting conservation from Brazil, United States and Japan. Her major education includes M.A. in... Read More →

Co-Author(s)
avatar for Dallas Grubbs

Dallas Grubbs

PhD Student, Catholic University of America
MM

Megan Moltrup

Intern, Library of Congress
MM

Madeline Morehouse

Library Technician, Library of Congress
ES

Escarlet Silva

Conservator in private practice, Latin American and Caribbean Scholars Program

Wednesday May 31, 2017 3:30pm - 4:00pm
Riverside West Exhibit Hall Exhibit Level, East Tower

Attendees (33)