StackMap Helps Patrons Adapt to Confusing Call Number Layouts


Law library classification schemes are usually different from those used at conventional libraries. We spoke with Monica Ortale and Karen Kronenburg from The Fred Parks Law Library at the South Texas College of Law about how StackMap has made it easier for patrons and students to adjust to a new classification system. 

We have a Library of Congress classification system where the first division is alphabetical.  However, in American Law, all books are classified under KF and then below KF is a series of numbers in numerical order through 9999. Library of Congress classification schemes are not for the faint of heart. You can see the patrons’ eyes start to glaze over when you tell them about the alphanumeric system and they go, “What?” Before StackMap, it was very common for our patrons to get lost because they were literally on the wrong floor. The KF classification covering several floors of the library was a real obstacle for users who didn’t really quite understand how to look for KF. They could be anywhere in the library to find KF. Then, they have to find the next number and then they would be lost. They wouldn’t have a fighting chance at finding the materials they needed.

Since StackMap, I can’t think of one time a patron came up to me and said, I can’t find what I’m looking for. With StackMap, I show them the ‘Find It’ button and they know where to go. They never come back to say I need you to take me where I’m trying to go. 

With StackMap, you’re able to empower them to find stuff. They don’t need to rely on a reference librarian to answer their question. I would rather help them find the book that they want than be a pointer and tell them the book is over here. We’re doing ourselves out of a real simple part of the job and now we have more time to do other parts of the job — more in-depth research kind of stuff, rather than just being a pointer.

Karen Kronenburg, Reference and Electronic Services Librarian 

Monica Ortale, Associate Director for Public Services