After over thirty years of failing to conduct a comprehensive inventory of the book collection at a large liberal arts library, our patrons complained that they could not find one in five books. Study of the problem indicated that in fact 20% of our books were either missing or miss-shelved. This article discusses the investigation of the problem and the impact after five years of conducting an annual inventory by using hand-held devices to gather barcodes and interface these with our catalog records to find the missing and miss-shelved books. The missing book rate dropped from 5.6% to less than one half percent. The miss-shelved book rate dropped steadily every year from 11.6% to 3.1%. The number of books reported as missing by our patrons dropped 90%.
misshelved books, inventory, missing books, hand-held devices, bar-coding, libraries
Date of this Version
Nixon, Judith M., "The Right Book on the Right Shelf: Missing and Misshelved Books-- How Barcode Scanning Inventories Can Solve the Patrons' Dilemma" (2009). Libraries Faculty and Staff Scholarship and Research. Paper 1.