San Diego State University Library created “S.W.A.T.” (Shelf-readers Working as A Team) an ongoing bi-weekly event during semester breaks to help improve employee communication, morale, and customer service by working as a team to improve the final step of book discovery, which is finding the book on the shelf. As a cataloger I spend great effort making sure a bibliographic item can be discovered in the catalog. However if the shelves are out of order, the final step of discovery is not realized. These one hour shelf-reading events involving library faculty, staff, and student workers focus on areas in the collection that are in need of being put in order and weeded. By shelf-reading these problem areas in the collection we are able to identify books out of order, extra or old copies to be withdrawn, books in need of repair or relabeling, and books that were previously declared lost. The events allow participants a break from their daily routines and to work outside their departmental silos in a collaborative environment with a shared goal, to improve the service the library provides. S.W.A.T. allows us to “Nail the Landing” and ensure that discovering books in our catalog and finding them on the shelves is easy.
Patrick Flanigan– Lead Cataloging Specialist, San Diego State University