Sunday, January 18, 2009

Basic library procedures: Library inventory

The following blog entry consists of notes referring to the video Library Inventory.

The video referred to conducting an inventory in a school library.

A staff member should call out the author, title, the number of copies, and check that everything that should be present is there.

The inventory has to be done; books and materials must be accounted for, and replaced, if necessary (and budgets allow). The order and condition must be checked, and staff can identify those items that need to be cleaned, repaired or mended. Staff can also identify materials in various class subjects.

Start out with the shelf list, which is the order the books should appear on the shelf. Each card identifies the book/item, copy number, purchase date, price and where it was acquired, and the loan history.

If a book is lost, it could be checked out by a patron whom has lost the material and does not know where it is. A fine should have been collected.

If a book is missing, the library does not know where the item is. As far as they know, it should be in the library as it has not been checked out by a patron.

Look at the shelf list and know which areas have enough material, and which areas should be built up - e.g. more materials should be purchased for.

A good set of inventory materials include paper clips to mark missing materials on the shelf list, pencils, coloured cards to indicate the last place on the shelf inventoried, gloves, and the inventory/shelf list.

There are 8 inventory steps:

1. Arrange the books in classification order and push to the back of the shelf.
2. Assign teams of 2 to take the inventory so it is conducted quicker.
3. Check each item against the shelf list.
4. Remove items in need of repair.
5. Attach paper clips to a item's card determined missing.
6. Search for missing items.
7. Fill out inventory records.
8. Finalize shelf list.

The shelf list should reflect the order the materials should be in. Start at the beginning of a classification section; indicate that the section has been finished, or when work has stopped for whatever reason (e.g. break, end of the day). Work left to right, top to bottom - just as the shelves are arranged and aligned in the library. Indicate that a section of the shelf list has been finished.

Materials are replaced according to the shelf list; not what is on the shelf.

Materials needing repair should be removed, the reason being stated on the card. Use symbols and date. Write the reason in pencil to the right of the copy number so it can be removed at a later date.

Examples would include:
Bdg - binding or repair at outside bindery
Mend - mending or repair done inside library
L - teacher/student has lost item
L&P - item lost/damaged and has been paid for
M - item missing
W - item withdrawn/removed/weeded
When an item is not on the shelf, paperclip the shelf card and mark the date.

'Dress the shelf' by pulling materials to the front, which indicates a book has been inventoried.

Paper clips make it easier to locate missing items for a conducted search. Books are often found in check outs/display cases/overdues/bindery (which someone may have neglected to mention). Restate the current condition on the item card, and remove the paperclip when the item is known to be no longer missing.

Staff should record the exact library holdings.

A sample chart could look like the following:

June (previous year's holdings)
Added (those items returned/new since previous inventory)

Missing (at time of inventory)
Subtotal (June's total + Added total) - Missing total
Lost (Items missing for 3+ years and/or paid for)
Total (Subtotal - Discarded total + Lost)

The inventory will give a idea of what the library has, and what needs to be replaced.

Paper clip unaccounted items, and be aware of them for the next 3 years. Is the book important? Reorder as soon as a budget will allow! If not, the shelf list of the last remainig card should be pulled and discharged if all the books are gone.

Inventories should occur when all books are in, or when the library is least likely to be disrupted (e.g. during holidays). If the inventory is ran through the school year, one classification number should be inventoried at a time.

A inventory is a vital big test. It needs to be a thorough organization with accuracy.

Library inventory. 25 minutes. (American Library Association Video/Library Video Network)

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