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Stacks Management at Polk Library

Stacks Management is a specialized subunit operating within the Circulation Services unit of Polk Library at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. The subunit is located within the Circulation area of Polk Library, and is under the authority of the Circulation Services Librarian, Crystal Buss. Staffing includes one full-time classified staff position, which I assumed in 1985, and 10-15 student employees.

In order to ensure that library materials are as accessible to patrons as possible, Stacks Management is responsible for keeping library materials from the following collections in proper order on the shelves: newspapers, current periodicals, bound periodicals, microforms, Main Collection, and Leisure Reading. Duties include shelving returned items, picking up and sorting items used in the building, searching for lost and missing items, monitoring shelving accuracy, shelfreading to ensure proper order on the shelves, maintenance of newspapers, and shifting whenever specific areas of shelving become overcrowded.

I first came to Polk Library in 1977, as full-time Circulation Desk staff. The position of Stacks Manager was created in 1985 as one-third of a classified position that also included Circulation and Interlibrary Loan duties; I assumed that position, and have held it ever since. Stacks Management has grown and evolved considerably over the years, most notably with the removal of the Circulation and Interlibrary Loan responsibilities, and the addition of periodicals maintenance. Because the position was new when I took it, I had no predecessor to train me, and no precedents to follow. Stacks Management as a separate entity was a relatively new idea, and there was very little reference material available, so I basically ‘invented’ methods and procedures as I went along, learning all the way.

Because Stacks Management is heavily dependent upon student employees, it is essential that proper training and resource materials be provided. This ensures efficient operation and a satisfactory level of service to the library and its patrons. Therefore, there is a thorough Stacks Management Student Employee Manual used both in initial training and as an ongoing reference tool. Often there is a need to train several different employees for different tasks in different areas of the library at the same time; to this end, along with more traditional training methods, I employ a system of Self-Training Guides that take trainees through specific tasks step by step.

Over the last decade, there has been special interest shown in both the Manual and the Self-Training Guides by other libraries. This is in part due to some articles I wrote and some presentations I did at the UW Madison School of Library and Information Science Circulation conferences, in the late 1990s. The Stacks Management page was created in response to this interest. The most recent Manual and Guides are posted here, along with various documents, guides, and links to other sites of interest.


Please note:  Roberta Stuemke has retired from Polk Library as of December 2011.  Any requests for information can be sent to

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