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Thanks to the several people who responded.
I knew our group would offer sage advice.  My question was "Does the shelf
tape sold in catalogs work for stopping books from sliding on the shelves?"
  I think I will try the idea of the "waffle" shelf liners on the bookends.
If that doesn't eliminate the problem then I will go to another idea from
the ones I received.

Responses received:

NO ideas, but , please! Don't get the foam "under" bookends.  I made that
mistake, and when the AC was shut off for the summer last year the foam
stuck to the bottom of the shelves.  It was a mess.
The "tape" in the catalogs does work--really well.  It's expensive though.
We recently purchased from Highsmith colorful metal bookends with a
different non-slip
bottom (not cork - some manmade material) that really grip the shelf
surface.  I used them today when I reorganized the paperback collection, and
they really hold. I also used the larger size with encyclopedia sets, and
they also held remarkably well without slippage.
I have the same problem. We solved it by using small rubber grips that we
bought from a library suppliers here in Australia and put on the bottom of
the bookends. You could probably get them from Demco in the US.
The books will still fall over with the heavy pate but it does gripe the
book bottom - so then you can't slide them as easily when putting them back.
I have them and they work ok.  Certainly the heavy duty sticky stuff on the
bottom really holds - so I would not use it anywhere that I am not positive
it will stay in place for eons.  I don't think masking tape will help at
all.  It is slippery, tears easily, comes up easily at first, and is heck to
get off the adhesive when you finally need to replace it.

I have purchased some very heavy duty book ends that really work.  They are
from Demco, I believe and are L-shaped. (if not Demco, Library Store)  Two
heights are available.  I believe they have cork bottoms.  I am convinced
that the weight of the metal in these bookends, combined with the cork, it
what holds them in place.
I have used some special tape.  And it does work.  It has ridges on it to
keep the books from slipping.  Also helps keep your book ends in place.
My thoughts are that if your cork book ends don't hold books, masking tape
isn't going to help.  There is nothing there to help keep the books from
I've tried the cork tape stripped - do not work
The bookends from Highsmith are great.... but do not help all the slippage
The tape I purchased works somewhat, but not as well as you'd like!
I too have had problems with slipping. I went to Wal-Mart and
bought shelf liner that is textured- kind of a waffle weave type
thing.  I traced around the bottom of book ends and rubber cemented
the shelf liner to the book ends.  Works really really great!
About the tape I have used 2 different types.  One which had a sort of cork
like substance and one which sort of looked like Venetian blinds sewn
together (pleated I guess)  I find the wider the better but other wise both
work well.  If I can only get the inch wide I have run 2 strip one at the
front and one in the middle.  If the shelves have a back I have also run
strips along that.  I also use them on book trucks (I worked in a large
processing center and we had a large number of size various trucks (well
over a hundred) and it helped with those orders which left half a shelf
empty. All the well know companies have the shelf tape ? -  Demco, Brodart,
Gaylord, and Vernon ?  I am sure other Library supply places have.   It is
expensive.  I was able to get mine in a renovation and new school order when
times were bad.  I don't think regular masking tape will work as it is made
to be removed.  Some of the construction masking tape which is very heavy
and wide might do. On the bottom shelves you do get a lot of  wear and might
end up with more of a mess.
I use the shelf tape from Highsmith or Demco.  The tape sticks to the
shelf and on the top, there is rubber or foam.  Masking tape won't do
what these products will.
I love the gritty shelf tape Demco sells. I had an assistant put it on every
shelf and it works!
I had the same problem here at my school and I was going to purchase some of
that tape. Then I came up with the idea of using some of the rubber shelf
liner stuff that comes in rolls. It was already being used under some plants
in the library. It works great and the books are no longer sliding all over
the shelf. It even helps to keep the book ends in place.
Just another solution to your problem.
We are slowly putting the tape from a catalog on the shelves and it does
I had this same problem of sliding books on older wood shelves.  I found
that low pile carpet (indoor/outdoor type) cut to fit the shelf was a
blessing.  The carpet stayed in place and the book ends did not slide
around.  The students did not have trouble sliding a book back into place
and were not always feeling like they were in trouble when the entire shelf
of books used to slide.
The tape starts to come up after awhile.  Try non-skid dots from
Highsmith (L41-62906).  They go on the bottom of the book ends and seem
to work well with our shelves.
I had been having the same problem with the cork bottoms.  Demco sells just
pads, and you can choose various kinds, including rubber and magnetic (for
shelving).  They are on the same page or next page as the book ends
They are reasonably priced.  I bought rubber ones and am replacing the cork.
The cork peels off fairly easily.  It has solved the problem of sliding!

Mary Ludwick, Librarian         K-5 Elementary
Owen Elementary, The Colony, Texas (near Dallas)  (school address) (home address)
Little known fact: "Don't Mess With Texas" is an
anti-litter campaign slogan.

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