QTND 36: Stacks Safe?

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Shouldn't there be structural reinforcement bars spanning the tops of the book shelves (across the aisles) to prevent the chance that an unstable shelf would fall on someone? I noticed some quite wobbly stacks in the 853's, for example.


--A Seasoned Shelver

Dear .. (well, I was going to write initials based on the way you signed your note, but then thought better of it),

The stacks ranges are firmly anchored into the concrete with bolts. Because of that we don't think they represent any danger of falling over, but we will check with the company that handles our shelving just to make sure that our installation is safe.

--RAE 9/8/95

We have now checked with the representative of the company that supplies our library shelving and confirmed that the stacks are indeed safe the way they are installed. Adding braces on top would probably make them a bit more rigid, but not necessarily safer in extreme circumstances, like (heaven forbid) an earthquake.

--RAE 9/26/95

Dear ASS,

As it should happen, I am an ASS myself. Last year at this time I went to RAE in person with this very same concern, and he told me the same thing. They're bolted to the floor. However...you and I both know that when you're putting books on the top shelf, the whole thing swings so precariously that it doesn't seem like a bolt in the floor would keep the whole thing from going over. Here's what I did to ease my conscience. I grabbed the top shelf, and shook it as hard as I could. (I figured if it fell over, I would just say it happened by itself. Besides, I would probably prevent a far greater catastrophe in the future by making RAE realize the danger.) It turned out that the shelf stayed put--the foot-and-a-half that it wobbles normally during shelving is as far as it will go. While this is enough to dump the books off the top, it's not enough to kill anybody.


--Another Seasoned Shelver

Last updated:
October 06, 2012