I am looking to decrease the time I waste looking for a book in the library. I generally know exactly what book I want, but not where in the library it is located. (Finding out what book you want, is a matter for a whole range of other questions.)
My university has 4 libraries across its campus. One for Art/Humanities/Business, one for Education, one for Science/Engineering and one for Law. All are multistory buildings.
Normally I will just use the library for my area, (that I am familiar with) but occasionally I will have to visit another for something cross-disciplinary.
The libraries separately shelf, books, periodicals, quartros and a few other types of publication.
Shelves are not always laid out in a linear order -- for space constraints and historical reasons, no doubt.
How can I optimally find the resource I am looking for?
My current method is:
- Look up the book online. This will tell me the Library, the Floor, the media type (Book or Periodical etc), and its spine information: Dewey Decimal, year, author name and title.
- Go to that floor. Walk past each and every shelf until I find the one that lines up with the Media type and Dewey Decimal range.
- Entry that row and move, checking the Decimals every meter or so, on one shelf.
- When I get to roughly the right area, check all spine codes til I find the book.
My latest failure at this, was in step 2, Finding the shelf. I was looking for a periodical with code 401.9. I found the area with most periodicals on the floor, shelves we sequentially ordered from 200-399, then form 700 onwards. Skipping the 400s section I was looking for. After quiet a while of looking, eventually found the 400s section. It turned out that because there were so few 400s in this particular library/floor it was combined with the Quartros, and was in shelf sequentially after the 400 series books.
I figure there has got to be a better way.
I realized after, when I placed the journal in the re-shelving area, that while the re-shelving area had a section for 300 series Books, 300 series quartos and 300 series periodicals. It only has a section for 400 series anything. Thus if I had have looked in the re-shelving section at the start, I would have realized something was up with the 400 series, and known to be on the lookout for them to be all together. Thus I figure there are other productivity tricks to get the layout of a library quickly.