PALS: Making Collection Count
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PALS: Making Collection Count



Presentation made to Prairie Area Libraries Conference, Moine, IL

Presentation made to Prairie Area Libraries Conference, Moine, IL
April, 22, 2010



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  • Welcome!Intro

PALS: Making Collection Count PALS: Making Collection Count Presentation Transcript

  • Making a Collection Count: Why a Physical Inventory is Essential to a Dynamic Library  
  • Physical Inventory – What is it?
    On-going process of comparing the “shelf list” (holdings) to actual items.
  • Inventory Strategy: Step 1
    Choose a manageable piece of collection
    Started with audio book collection
    High per unit cost
    Newer collection
    Holdings at beginning of project (2006) ~1000 items according to first shelf list.
    Estimated value at that time: about $65,000
    View slide
  • Inventory Strategy: Step 2
    • Do a quick, general weed View slide
    • Be aggressive!
    • Makes shelf list more manageable in step 3
  • A few notes about weeding…
    It is as important as selection
    Must be done regularly
    Hoarding is not collection development
  • Inventory Strategy: Step 3
    • Get a shelf list
    • Usually includes title, author, pub date, last circ date, total circs, price, item barcode #
  • Inventory Strategy: Step 4
    Identify obvious errors on shelf list.
    Call numbers that don’t line up
    Items without prices or other empty fields on list
    Find the items and fix their records and inventory them
  • Inventory Strategy: Step 5
    Inventory remaining items
    Cart up a shelf at a time
    Scan into your ILS’s inventory feature
    Mark off items on the shelf list as you go along
    Volunteers are a great resource for this part!
  • Inventory Strategy: Step 6
    Track down items on the shelf list that were not confirmed in your first pass.
    Place holds for items that were checked out when made your first sweep
    Follow up: mark missing? Damaged?
  • Inventory Strategy: Step 7
    Make a policy for how long to keep records for items that are not confirmed
    Missing, damaged, assumed lost, etc.
    Set a maintenance schedule for your next inventory in that collection
    Items with no activity in a certain amount of time
  • What You’ll Discover
    • Items still attached to patron records
    • Items shelved in the wrong place
    • Items that are broken, dirty, and disgusting!
    • Items attached to the wrong record
    • Holdings for items discarded ages ago
    • Adult items marked juvenile/vice versa
  • More Discoveries
    • Mislabeled items
    Inaccurate call numbers
    Items marked missing
    • Items that are just plain stupid!
  • Why should we spend time doing this?
    • So that catalog accurately reflects library holdings
    • Limit customer and staff frustration
    • To create a starting point for evaluation
    • Library & Librarian performance
    • Increase knowledge of your holdings—better reference skills!
  • Physical Inventory Helps Maintain a Quality Collection
    Does it circulate or is it used enough?
    Is it current?
    Is it relevant?
    Does it look nice?
    Does the catalog correctly reflect the status of the item? (checked out, lost/missing, etc)
    Are collections organized logically?
  • Physical InventoryDefines Your Collections
    • Geographical
    • Shelf Location, Department
    • Item type
    • DVDs, Book on CD, Large Print
    • Location in a “collection”
    • Non-Fiction, Fiction, Audio book, Music
  • Monetary Reasons to Perform a Physical Inventory
    Provides information for budget decisions
    Need to update/overhaul a collection?
    Waning format = limit/eliminate funds to a collection
    Regular inventory controls waste (Read: $$$)
    Replacement costs
    ILL costs
  • Intangible Reasons
    Solid collection information and data shows vigilance with public assets
    Staff familiarity with collections
    You look smart, professional, and RELEVANT!
  • Using Inventory Data
    SSLDL’s Audio Book Collection Results (1 Day’s Work)
    5 missing items found
    1 item still checked out on patron record
    14 items cataloged as wrong format
    2 items not found (Stolen? Lost? Discarded?)
    ~50 confirmed status/location
    Error Rate: 4.4%
    Reclaimed items: 20 (~$65 each = about $1,300 value)
    Lost/stolen/missing:2 (about $130 value)
    Items confirmed: ~50 (about $3,250)
  • Using Inventory Data:Creating Collection Objectives
    A general statement of what materials will or will not be included in the collection.
    They are different for every library and community
    Can be different for each collection
    Collection Data is Dynamic!
    Is your collection doing the job
    it’s supposed to?
  • Audio Book Collection Objective
    Popular materials of current interest
    Since cost is a factor with audio books, titles that have a limited shelf life will be given low priority
    Examples: some series fiction, political material addressing current events, travel info, certain types of science or health material that could be outdated quickly
  • Audio Book Collection Objective(Continued)
    Consideration and comparison to statistics in downloadable audios will also be investigated.
    Other considerations for the collection:
    Classic fiction and nonfiction titles that coincide with local school and university curriculum objectives, foreign language instruction for both students and travelers
  • Using Inventory Data to Create Benchmarks
    • Benchmark:
    • A standard by which something can be measured or judged
    • Most expensive collections get most attention
    • Non-financial reasons are important and considered!
    • Circulation Goals
    • Estimation of how many times you estimate this item will be checked out within 2 years of purchase
  • Circulation Benchmarksfor Audio Book Collection
    • Fiction Titles
    • 10-12 checkouts within 1 year of purchase
    • Popular Non-Fiction
    • Bestsellers, self help, biography, etc.
    • 8-10 checkouts within a year of purchase
    • Informational Non-Fiction
    • Language instruction, Shakespeare/Poetry, etc.
    • 3 checkouts within 1 year of purchase
  • Other Benchmarks to SetUsing Inventory Data
    • Average unit cost of each item in a collection
    • Total cost (worth) of a collection
    • Number of units in a collection
    • Weeding/maintenance schedule
  • Collection Life Cycle
    Weed or Replace
    Each stop in the circle gives us a chance to check quality
  • Contact Me!Mary Kelly marykelly48@gmail.comhttp://practicallibrarian.blogspot.comHave some truly awful things to share?http://awfullibrarybooks.infoemail: awfullibrarybooks@gmail.comPresentation available online at