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UTEP Library Student Handbook

This is the UTEP Library Student Handbook with all the guidelines that all UTEP Library student employees must follow. If you have questions, ask your immediate supervisor and/or UTEP LIbrary Administration.

Book Handling Guidelines

(revised 3-19-19)

Shelving and use of book trucks

  • Books should not extend beyond the edges of the shelf or book truck.  They can get caught on objects or people passing by, causing damage to the book or possible injury to the person.
  • Books can vibrate off the truck when you are moving the cart across a rough surface, such as the tile in front of the elevators.  Always check the books on the moving cart to be sure they do not fall off the truck.
  • When crossing the gap in the elevator, move the truck diagonally so that only one wheel at a time crosses the gap.  If you push the truck straight, the wheels can get stuck, jar the truck and cause the books to fall off the cart.  This is especially true with trucks that have smaller wheels.
  • When moving a book truck with partially-filled shelves, always brace the books upright with either bookends or a few books laying down.
  • When loading a book truck, make sure that the load is balanced.  If you don't have books on both sides of the shelf, place the books in the center of the shelf.  Moving book trucks with unbalanced loads can cause the truck to tip over.  Tipping book trucks will cause damage to library materials and may injure you.  Please be careful!!
  • Always place books in an upright position on book trucks and shelves.  Never place a book on its fore-edge (the edge opposite the spine).  This will cause the hinges to break and the text block will fall out of the book.  If a book is too tall for a shelf, place it on its spine.  It is best to store very large books, such as atlases, laying flat.
  • Don't pack books too tightly on the shelves.
  • Books should not be shelved so loosely that they lean over.  When left in this position for several months, the covers will warp and books will no longer stand upright.  Books should be supported with sturdy bookends of an appropriate height.
  • Use care when using bookends.  It is very easy to damage a book by shelving it over narrow edged or wire bookends.


Removing books from shelves


  • Never pull books off the shelf by the top of the spine.  Always move the neighboring books with one hand, while grasping the book firmly by its front and back covers with the other.  If this is not possible, reach over the top of the book and pull the fore-edge toward you until you can get a good grip on the covers.
  • Large books, such as dictionaries, should always be supported on a table when being used.

Book Drops  

  • Book drops are potentially very damaging to books.  A truck with a depressible platform should be under the book drop at all times.
  • Books returned to the book drops should be put in one at a time and spine first.
  • Multimedia items as well as books that are old and/or fragile or damaged should be returned to the directly to the circulation desk.   Please ask patrons to not put these items in the book drop when you check them out to them.


  • Keeping the temperature and humidity at the same levels is important to keeping library materials in good condition.  Too much heat and too little humidity can cause books to warp.  We try to keep the temperature at a level that will cause minimal damage to the materials. This is why, at times, it may seem cold in the library.
  • On the other hand too much humidity may cause a mold outbreak.  We generally don't have to worry about high humidity in El Paso; damp conditions are more likely to be caused by leaks.  If you see moldy books, report it to your supervisor immediately.
  • Ultraviolet light is very damaging to paper.  Books should never be shelved in direct sunlight.  In areas where the lights can be turned off when the stacks are not in use, the lights should be turned off.
  • Waste from food and drinks attract insects and rodents to the library.  We have strict policies on food and drinks in the library and all of us must enforce these rules.


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