Shelf and Stack Services (SSS) personnel locate, retrieve, and reshelve library materials. Piece of cake, huh? Hardly worthy of mention, you say? The reality is that this Department facilitates virtually every transaction between the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the patrons it serves in Pittsburgh, in Allegheny County, and frequently, across the nation.
In 2009, SSS had a literal hand on the nearly 1 million items that made their way from library to library. Some effort was the result of filling requests made by patrons of other CLP branches or via Interlibrary Loan, by other libraries, while some stemmed from the regularly scheduled collections at book drops and at the Customer Service station.
Borrowed items which are returned to the Library are quickly reshelved to provide access to other patrons. SSS shelved 500,000 items last year, while at the same time monitoring them for broken spines, ripped pages, and similar defects in need of repair.
When one considers that only a fraction of CLP’s browsable materials reside on the three floors to which patrons have access, the contributions of SSS are apparent. The remainder of the collection—the esoteric, the specialty, the rare, the nostalgic—are available for all through the efforts of personnel who doggedly scour niches and cubbyholes to satisfy unusual and exacting informational needs and realize the mission of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.