Sunday, October 4, 2020

A humble dream





 Dear Library Board:



This is an official proposal that our library system establish a minimum shelving height of 31 inches, mandating that no items in our library system can be shelved on any surface less that 31 inches from the ground.

In this proposal I will explain the benefits of this mandate. I will address the concerns related to this switch-over from our current system. And I will present solutions to any problems related to this new mandate.


Part One: Benefits of the mandate


In a long term study that I have funded and carried out it has been determined that low shelf shelving (as defined by shelves at a height of less than 31 inches) are responsible for:

1. A seven percent loss in sick time related to back injuries and knee surgeries. Our staff isn't getting any younger.

2. A 28 percent loss in shelving productivity due to staff hating lower shelves and therefore avoiding shelving even more than they are already inclined to do.

3. An 18 percent increase in reshelving required due to library patrons removing low shelved books for browsing and not putting them back because that's way too much work and they hate it.

In conclusion: Shelving books under the minimum height of 31 inches costs $340,000 each year in lost labor and productivity. By switching to a minimum shelving mandate our library system can reliably save over three million dollars within ten years.  


Part two: Concerns and solutions with the mandate

1. Loss of shelving. As much as a third of our total available shelving space can be lost under this new system.

Solution: Add four dozen new libraries to our library system and expand the footprint of all current library buildings. This was long overdue anyway, and can be done for under 120 million dollars. Please see "Proposal Number Two: Libraries Replace Police Departments.".

2. Children will no longer have access to any material as it will now be out of reach.

Solution: The Children's room floor will have installed electronically operated rising cantilevered floors (the costs for this are already managed in "Proposal Number Two: Libraries Replace Police Departments"). At the push of a button children will be able to browse from any height suitable to their varying sizes. It is understood that most children will instead just ride up and down all day on the electronic cantilevered floors, but, really, what's wrong with that?

Thank you so much for your attention to this vital matter. In preparation for your decision on this we have destroyed all the lower shelving in our building to expedite implementation.

With the utmost respect,

Submitted this day etc. etc.

Feldenstein Calypso


  1. I would certainly appreciate this. But with empathy for your short patrons, what about those top shelves? I have visited libraries where the top shelves are almost seven feet...and that's to the shelf, it doesn't include the height of the books.

    How about creating shelves that revolve like a Ferris wheel? That would be fun. [Note to any future inventor, it would be a good idea to make these shelves child-proof, if that is possible.]

    1. Well, we could use the cantilevered electronic rising and lowering floors everywhere, allowing for shelves to go up as high as twenty or thirty feet, which would be super impressive. The ferris wheel is a fun idea, but I suspect not just the dangers you mentioned with those moving parts, but also that the footprint of Ferris wheel shelving might be sort of a problem. We'll work on it, making sure that we establish patents along the way.


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