Foredge shelving

Foredge shelving is a book shelving technique. Books are typically shelved upright with the spines facing outwards. However, when a book is too tall to stand upright on a shelf it may be shelved horizontally, i.e., flat, or with the spine resting on the shelf (spine shelving), or alternatively with the foredge, i.e., the part of the book opposite the spine, resting on the shelf, (foredge shelving).

Foredge shelving may be harmful to books because as damage may be caused to the spine and joints. However, it is still a rather common practice in libraries and other book collections, possibly because leaving the spine facing up makes it easier to see the call number, which is usually located on the spine.

The Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) recommends that books should never be stored on the foredge. Instead, it is recommended that either the shelves should be rearranged to accommodate the books standing upright, or the books should be moved to other shelves that can accommodate the books standing upright .


External Links

  • Proper Care of Library Books: A Guide for Museum Staff. American Museum of Natural History Research Library. Retrieved on July 29, 2008. Accessible at
  • Holdings Maintenance. The National Archives. Retrieved on July 29, 2008. Accessible at
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