Dynamic Shelving: Transforming Libraries for a New Generation


The AASL 2023 session on dynamic shelving, presented by the acclaimed Kelsey Bogan, offered a fresh perspective on library organization. As perhaps the woman who coined the term "dynamic shelving," Bogan shared her insights and strategies during the session. This blog post aims to provide a recap of the session, highlighting key takeaways and introducing other practitioners of dynamic shelving, such as KC Boyd, Lyric Allen, and Mellisa Corey. Let's dive into the exciting world of dynamic shelving and explore how it can revolutionize your library space.

From perhaps the woman who coined the term “dynamic shelving” Kelsey Bogan

1. Proof is in the Pudding: Increased Circulation Rates

One of the most compelling arguments for dynamic shelving is the significant increase in circulation rates. By customizing the shelving layout to align with the curriculum and readers' interests, libraries have witnessed a surge in borrowing activity. This tangible evidence serves as proof of the effectiveness of dynamic shelving in engaging readers and promoting exploration.

2. The Grocery Store Analogy: Breaking Free from Traditional Shelving

During the session, Bogan presented a thought-provoking analogy: What if grocery stores were arranged by brand rather than category? This scenario highlights the limitations of traditional shelving in libraries. Dynamic shelving encourages customization, breaking free from rigid categorization and allowing for a more intuitive browsing experience.

3. Customization and Alignment with Curriculum

Dynamic shelving enables librarians to align their collections more closely with the curriculum, catering to the specific needs of students. By incorporating pull-out collections, librarians can highlight special themes or specific topics that resonate with their readers. This customization fosters a deeper connection between readers and the library resources.

4. Small Collection Chunking: Engaging Displays and Bins

To enhance the browsing experience, dynamic shelving advocates for small collection chunking through engaging displays and bins. Front-facing displays and signage help draw attention to specific books or collections, encouraging readers to explore beyond their usual preferences. Bogan shared a free tool, Rasterbator, for creating eye-catching signage.

5. Empowering Students and Fostering Independence

One of the most rewarding aspects of dynamic shelving is the empowerment it brings to students. By creating a space that encourages exploration and independence, librarians provide a platform for students to discover new interests and engage with reading on a deeper level. The enthusiasm and gratitude expressed by students are a testament to the impact of dynamic shelving.


The AASL 2023 session on dynamic shelving provided valuable insights into transforming libraries for a new generation of readers. By customizing shelving layouts, incorporating engaging displays and signage, and aligning collections with the curriculum, librarians can create vibrant and intuitive spaces that foster a love for reading and learning. Inspired by pioneers like Kelsey Bogan, KC Boyd, and Mellisa Corey, librarians worldwide are embracing dynamic shelving, revolutionizing their libraries and empowering students. Embrace the power of dynamic shelving, and witness the transformation in your library space.


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