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Current periodical shelving summary (Jennifer Sweeney) Stephen Clark 08 Jan 1999 21:46 UTC

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Date: Fri, 8 Jan 1999 09:36:18 -0800
From: Jennifer Sweeney <jksweeney@UCDAVIS.EDU>
Subject: Current periodical shelving summary

Thank you everyone for your very useful comments on hinged display
shelving for current periodicals!   I have copied the responses below, but
to summarize, I received a dozen replies, nine from academic libraries,
two from public libraries, and one from a special library.  The responses
were evenly split between those who liked the system and those who did
not; negative comments included the risk of the hinged shelf slamming shut
on fingers/wrists, user confusion (not knowing the shelf lifted up), not
enough space underneath the hinged shelf to store enough issues, and a
sloppy look when the display shelves were left up.  Positive comments were
on appearance and usefulness of having the previous issues handy.

Here are the responses I received from this list to the question:

We are thinking of reconfiguring our current periodicals area.  Does
anyone have any practical comments on the type of hinged periodical
display shelving that has a slanted shelf to display the most current
issue, which then folds up and slides back to reveal the back issues?


We have the wooden shelves with the slanted shelves which tip up with
storage beneath.  I **hate** them!!  They sometimes stick when you want to
raise or lower them.  They often fall when they're up (I'm just waiting
me or a student to break a wrist).  If you want to maximize your space
usage, you need to have three or four titles per shelf, but then there
room underneath for many months of some things, or even many issues of
thick ones, which means storing part of a year elsewhere until you bind
whole thing or the fiche arrives.  If you have the tall ones, it's
to access titles on the top shelves.  I suppose for a library where
almost always browse the current issues -- a public library, perhaps --
might be ok, but for an academic library where patrons very often need
access to other current-volume issues, they're a pain.

We're talking about doing library renovations within the next couple of
years, and my director likes the idea of getting rid of them -- I can't

Lynne N. Stevens
Serials Coordinator
Lipscomb Library
Randolph-Macon Woman's College
804 947-8133/FAX 804 947-8134


In my limited experience, here are a few criteria to look for when
choosing shelving:

-Measure the space underneath the shelf.  You want to have enough room for
as many back issues as you require ( one month back, etc).  If you have a
lot of science journals, more space is definitely better!

-We currently have heavy wooden hinged shelves that slide up and back, and
I'm not fond of them.  They are awkward to grip, and they get stuck or
slamming down on one's fingers...I would actually try out the shelf unit,

-Watch for sharp edges on the title label or on the edge of the display
shelf.  These can be present with both wood and metal shelving.  I've
up a sweater or two this way.

Jennifer van Sickle
Serials Librarian/Science bibliographer
Trinity College
Hartford, CT 06106

We use the type of shelving you mentioned and have found that
it works very well for our purposes.  I am able to keep about a year to
two years (depending on the size of the  magazine) worth of issues
underneath.  Right now, our regular shelving area has limited space and
so some of the journals that we have on display are kept for a longer
period in the shelves that you are asking about.
We have three sections, with each side having three shelves.  Usually, I
can fit between 3 and 4 journals (again, depending on the size of the
journal) on each of the shelves.  I use the bottom shelf as an extra
area for oversize journals or magazines, such as "Village Voice" or "The
Chronicle of Higher Education".  The Display area is in the shape of an
inverted "U".

If you have any
questions, please feel free to contact me at or
(727) 864-8203 and I will be glad to help you as best I can.
Sincerely yours,
Sarah Peaden
Eckerd College in St. Petersburg,


We had this type of shelving years ago, in wood, yet.  Expensive, the
raising mechanism didn't work very well, and it was virtually impossible
keep the latest, or any, issue on the slanted display.   Takes lots of
space, too!

In our current library, we began with metal slanted displays, which were
fixed, with an open bin below for the rest of the current issues.  A few
years ago, we replaced these shelves with half-height shelves without a
display part.  Instead of a rather forbidding area of high shelves that
filled our current periodical area, we now have a light-filled room [we
see the windows!], and have a wonderful reading area in the middle of the
space.  We've actually received comments on how nice the area looks, and I
don't believe anyone laments the lack of display shelves.

I don't think display shelving is worth the cost, the space required, or
the upkeep, especially if your collection is heavily used.

Sally Andersen / Serials
University Library
University of Nebraska at Omaha
Omaha, NE 68182-0237
[402] 554-2984


We had those type of shelves at both the Mary Washington College Library
and the George Mason University Library where I previously worked.
Patrons sometimes get confused because they don't realize that the
shelves flip up!  I personally think that they look the neatest - but we
did have a slight problem with labeling the shelves so that the
magazines would be put away in the correct slots.  We ended up using
see-through plastic sleeves ( like the ones that hold check-out cards)
that held a card printed with the magazine title so that we could easily
shift them around.   We had a hard time coming up with that solution,
but there might be something better out there now!

Kim Peters
  Information Service & Library
  National Restaurant Association


When we moved to our new location, we had new shelving installed
- the kind you described. The only advice I have is to make sure
the shelving doesn't "cover up" the wall thermostats - we've had
to leave the shelving "open" over the thermostats at times so
they'd work properly.  (A case of the left hand not knowing what
the right hand was doing, I think!)

As for labelling the shelves, our shelving has a built-in "track"
for paper labels.  Hard on the fingers at times, but workable.  A
friend at another library has similar shelving but without the
label track - she decided to add a Velcro labelling system.  As much as
I've had to rearrange the periodicals here over the past
two years, I think the track system is cheaper and more flexible.

My two cents' worth...

Beth Martin
Rockefeller Library
Colonial Williamsburg



In 1995, we added a 5 section grouping of current journal shelving where
the display ledge raises up.

Our older sections of fold up display shelving, I believe were Estey
shelving.  Those are like you describe where
the display swings up then back so you can get access to the issues.  On
these older shelves, there is a gap so
you can see the issues on the shelf beneath.,  Shelf labels denoting the
titles are on the front edge of the
shelf using  label holders we got from  Highsmith.  All the pieces are
bolted together, including the bottom
shelf and toe kicks. On this newer double sided display shelving, I
believe is also Estey, the construction is entirely different.

On this shelving, they are 7 shelves high as opposed to the 6? . This
makes getting to the top journals more

Also, because of the construction, the bottom shelf and toe kick is ONE
PIECE of metal that slides between the
support posts.  The tilt up display shelves do just that, tilt up, they DO
NOT slide back. They are bolted to the
left and right side of the shelf.  In addition, when the shelf is tilted
do the display position, it hits the
front edge of the shelf, covering the front edge.  Thus because we did not
want to place self stick labels on the
edge of the display ledge, we opted for combining a flat magnet that comes
in a roll with a pre-cut plastic label

Unfortunately the magnets slip as display ledges come down, and on the
bottom shelf, vacumm cleaners can brush
the magnets off.

Also with that bottom shelf, you have to get down on your knees to get to
the journals on the shelf.  There is not very much room to reach in.

That is about it.  If I think of anything else I will let you know.  When
checking out new shelving, you might
watch for some of these features.

John Lucas

Serials Librarian
University of Mississippi Medical Center
2500 North State St
Jackson, MS 39216-4505

(PH) (601) 984-1277


We have the hinged periodical display which slides up with room for
previous issues below.  We started out by
keeping three previous issues below.  Our students and faculty found it
very confusing.  With each new semester
we had to retrain students--and student workers--on the shelving system.

Now we just keep the most current issue on display and previous issues go
to the shelves.  No more
confusion---about that at least.

Fran Springer

Fran Springer
Interlibrary Loan/Serials Librarian
Thunderbird  Amer. Grad. Sch. of Int'l Mgmt.
15249 North 59th Ave.
Glendale, Az  85306
Phone: 602-978-7235


I worked for about a year and a half in a public library that uses the
of setup you describe for periodicals.  We had no mechanical problems.  It
looks nice and neat, except when patrons left the display shelf in the
position, and then walked away - that looked terrible, and prevented the
next person who came along from seeing the covers of the magazines on that
shelf.  (There was one patron who consistently came in and left three or
four shelves open like this.  That patron's inconsiderate attitude  was
pet peeve of the Head of Reference.)  A more common problem with this type
of display was that patrons did not realize WHERE the recent back issues
were.  It was not self-evident.  I don't know how many times I had to come
around from behind the Reference Desk and demonstrate to them how they
could lift the shelf up to reveal the back issues.

Elyse Hayes
now at: South Huntington (NY) Public Library


In our dept. we use similar shelving for the periodicals.  Most of our
customers, once they find out the shelves move,  love being able to access
entire year's worth of magazines.  (We keep only the current year on the
floor.)  Larger magazines (Crain's Detroit Business and Computer Shopper
instance) we are not able to fit onto the shelves.  They are laying down
good old bookcase shelves behind the slanted shelf cases.  Newspapers are
on dowels.  A couple of sections of shelving were removed and slots for
dowels were installed so all our periodicals are pretty much kept

Sometimes people may put a book or other heavy item on a raised shelf,
causing it to slam shut.  Although this happens very rarely (the last time
I was the
culprit) I just wanted to make you aware of the possibility.

All in all, I really like them for their display, storage and

Julie M. Smith
Business Dept.
Toledo-Lucas County Public Library


I think the safety and other issues of this type of shelving were
on SERIALIST awhile back.


We had that type of shelving installed in our periodicals area when our
library renovation was done.  It displays only the current year of our
journal titles.  It works very well.  However, we are constantly amazed at
the number of patrons who do not realize that that display shelf lifts up
allow access to older issues beneath.
    These shelves are placed near our service desk which is very handy for
shelving and patron questions.  (Our entire periodicals holdings are open
shelves, except for a few high-theft items.)
     I was not involved in the choice of manufacturer.  However, if that
info would be helpful, let me know and I'll dig it up for you.

Laurie Nalepa
Periodicals Librarian


We had this type of shelving in our old library building.

We had always had our current journals in boxes on shelves around the
room.  When we got a new director, he did not like the dark wood (he
loved "fruitwood".) so he ordered the type of shelving you describe.  This
put around the room in front of and attached to the original built in

We started having to send some of the titles we had displayed directly to
stacks because the slanted shelf type of shelving did not hold as many
as we had been able to display in boxes.

When we moved into a new library, the slanted shelves were not moved.  The
current journals are back in plastic boxes stored upright on what else but
"fruitwood shelves."

From: "Anne C. Bunting 448-5634" <>


* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Jennifer Sweeney
Library Analyst
Shields Library
University of California
Davis, CA 95616

Phone:  (530) 752-5819
FAX:    (530) 752-6899