Behind the scenes

Have you ever wondered what happens when you return a book to the library? How does that book go from being checked out on your card to returning to its place on our shelves? Here’s a peek behind the drop box door to show you how this happens.

The journey begins at our book return wall or our drop boxes outside. Since it is currently raining I went with the newly-decorated book return wall in our lobby. I am returning a graphic novel for kids (“Dog Man and Cat Kid” by Dav Pilkey, to be precise), so I dropped the book into the Children and Teen Books bin.

From the other side of the wall, it looks like this. The bins are spring loaded so the books never have too far to fall.

The bins are emptied and the books are put on a special pad that checks the item back in to the library.

Once the books are checked in they are moved to their proper shelves in our returns room. The room is pretty narrow but all collections from all three floors of the library have their shelves.

I found the appropriate shelf for the book and put it in call number order with a couple of other Dav Pilkey Dog Man books.

The books in the returns room end up in our shelving cart area on the first floor. The carts are separated by their destination floors.

The Dav Pilkey book I just returned is on this cart, labeled “In order & ready to shelve.”  This lets our shelvers know this particular cart is ready to go…

…to the elevator to the 3rd floor…

…and the books on this cart are ready to be shelved with the other graphic novels for kids.

The now-shelved book is ready for the next kid (or adult) to borrow. The next time you see someone shelving materials at the library, please don’t hesitate to thank them for their hard work keeping our collections in order and available for you to enjoy.

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