Setting the Scene


The University’s Library’s reshelving process was not as efficient as it could be. Many of those involved in the process were aware that other university libraries had a Lean approach to reshelving, and wanted to see if this would also work for them.

There were a number of problems with the original reshelving process:

  • Not enough reshelving trollies were available at peak times
  • Shelves become steadily less tidy as the term progresses
  • Student shelvers are not always available when required


To develop a shelving process where books and DVDs are returned to the right space on the right shelf, and in the most efficient and timely manner


  • Staff resistant to changes that may impact on them directly (e.g. changes to working times, duties, etc.)
  • The right staff may not be available when required



Process Improvements

  • Book return bins emptied every 15 minutes, and books placed on single trolley
  • Trolley emptied when full or max. three hours after first book placed on it
  • Trolley taken to appropriate floor, books shelved, and trolley returned to office

Quantitative Benefits

  • Items are now returned to the correct shelf within 12 hours

Qualitative Benefits

  • Increased communication between shelvers, student assistants, and other library staff/volunteers