The history of library shelving dates back to ancient civilizations, where books were often stored in the form of scrolls and kept in libraries within temples or other religious institutions. These early libraries were typically small and the books were stored in pots or on shelves made of wood or stone.
In the Middle Ages, monastic libraries began to develop, and books were stored on shelves made of wood or metal. These shelves were often arranged in a specific order, such as by subject or author.
During the Renaissance, libraries became more common in secular settings and began to resemble the libraries of today. Books were stored on shelves made of wood and arranged in a more systematic manner. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century also led to an increase in the number of books being produced, and libraries began to expand to accommodate the growing collections.
In the 19th century, libraries began to use metal shelving, which was more durable and allowed for greater flexibility in the arrangement of the books. Additionally, the development of the Dewey Decimal Classification system in the late 19th century led to a more standardized method of organizing books on shelves.
Today, libraries continue to use a wide range of shelving materials, including wood, metal and plastic. Many libraries also use automated systems, such as compact shelving, to maximize space and increase efficiency in storing and retrieving materials.
there are several types of library shelving that are commonly used, including:
- Open shelving: This is the most traditional form of library shelving, where books are placed on individual shelves that are open to the public.
- Closed shelving: Also known as compact shelving, closed shelving involves storing books on shelves that are enclosed behind doors or panels. This type of shelving is often used in libraries to save space and increase efficiency.
- Mobile shelving: This type of shelving involves storing books on shelves that are mounted on wheels or tracks, allowing them to be easily moved and compacted together to save space.
- Stackable shelving: This type of shelving involves stacking shelves on top of each other, allowing for maximum use of vertical space.
- Automated shelving: This type of shelving uses technology such as barcode scanning or RFID tagging to automatically track and retrieve materials, and it is usually used in large libraries or in special collections.
- Rolling Shelving: This type of shelving is on wheels or casters, which can be moved easily and can be used to create flexible and adaptable spaces.
The choice of the type of shelving depends on the size of the library, the type of collection, and the budget.