My name is Jannicke Røgler. I work as a library adviser in Buskerud County library. I have 20 years experience as a librarian and archivist in both private and public sector. In Norway, all public libraries are owned and financed by municipalities. The municipal library network is supported by a development unit - the county library - at the next administrative level. In this presentation I will show how the county library is using statistics to promote professional collection development in small local libraries. The paper present and discuss different aspects of turnover rates and the methods and procedures of weeding.
Buskerud County consists of 21 municipalities and there are about 255 000 inhabitants. 11 of the 21 municipalities has less than 5.000 inhabitants. Administrative center is in Drammen, the biggest municipality and town. Buskerud County library is part of a joint library together with Drammen public library and Buskerud University College library. The joint library is situated in Drammen, in a two year old building together with among other Buskerud University College.
When staff at Buskerud County Library deceided to focus on turnover rates and weeding, we needed to find a well developed method for weeding collections. The CREW Method has for many years provided guidance to librarians and staff in small and medium sized public libraries and was used as the leading guidelines in our work. The CREW team developed the acronym MUSTIE for six negative factors that make a book a good candidate for weeding. All of the factors were taken into consideration in our weeding but: Misleading, ugly and irrelevant were the most important factors. Data from the library system was used when there was doubt weither a book should be discarded or not. Local knowledge of the users needs was important. In that the head librarian played a very important role. Documenting the process was vital for the county library. We wanted to show how much could be done in two days. Report and pictures where both published on our web site.
Turnover rates for adult literature in Buskerud 2007: Turnover rates in Buskerud are low. The same is the case for the rest of Norway. The average turnover rate is only 0,83. Almost all Norwegian libraries struggle with low turnover rates and too big collections. The figures show that there is a close correlation between the size of the municipality and turnover rate. The turnover rates show a dramatic decrease the smaller the library and municipality is. For adult fiction the turnover rate varies between 0,2 in Hol with 4400 inhabitants, and 1,3 in Drammen with 60.000 inhabitants. In municipalities with less than five thousand, which constitute more than 50% of all libraries in Norway, fiction circulates less than non-fiction. This is a serious situation for the public libraries and may indicate little or irregular weeding and collection development.
Geographically Norway and Denmark are quite different. In Denmark you are never far from a city centre or a library. This fact may explain some of the differences in turnover rate in Denmark and Norway when compared to rural municipalities. When compared to the cities another set of reasons must be applied. In Danish public libraries they have more than twice as many employees as in Norway. More staff make it easier for better opening hours, which again result in more visits and higher loans. * Major cities in Denmark has a turnover rate that is more than sixty percent higher than in Norway * Medium-sized cities and for some rural municipalities the Danish turnover rate is almost twice as high than in Norway
T he main library of the municipality of Nes is situated in Nesbyen, a small town in Hallingdalen. It's a small rural municipality with 3500 inhabitants that rely heavily on winter tourism. There are many holiday homes and quite many guest workers. Both the tourists and the guest workers are frequente library users. The library is placed in a basement in the city centre together with the cinema. Based on figures from 2006, 36 per cent of the collection in Nes was weeded. On average the libraries that has a turnover rate below 0,5, has 0,3 as turnover rate. After the weeding the total turnover rate for books has increased to 0,62. This relatively low number indicates that there still is room for additional weeding at Nes. The collection still lack the currency and relevance one normally would expect from a main library. When compared to other municipalities with less than five thousand inhabitants, the situation is more positive. Even before weeding, Nes had a better turnover rate with 0,39 compared to the average of 0,32. But figures this low, indicates how grave the situation is for small libraries in Norway. There is great need for weeding and plans for collection developmen The importanse of documenting all phases of the process was given much attention
For fifty years there had never been done a major weeding of the collection at Nes library. In 2006 they employed their first trained librarian. She immediately saw the need for collection development. She called the county library for help, and three of us came to her assistance for two days. The library truly was a depressing sight with unorderly shelves and books everywhere. The number of outdated books were huge. In such cases weeding is very easy. It does not take much intellectual activity to throw away a 35 year old book about «Everyday IT»! My colleague Beate made a new childrens departement in only two days
The turnover rate in Vestfossen is below the Norwegian average for both children and adults. For adults the average was in 2007 0,83. This is more than four times higher than in Vestfossen. In short the adult collections of Vestfossen are not being used by the public mainly because of the very limited opening hours. The only adults that have got a sufficient level of service are the teachers which can use the library during daytime every day of the week. After the weeding had taken place, the library director together with the head librarian made a proposition to the local politicians which proposed that Vestfossen would continue only as a school library. The politicians are still debating the proposition.
The weeding in Vestfossen was done in cooperation with a local artist, Rune Guneriussen. He gave all the 3500 books a new life as objects in his art project. Guneriussen is a photo artist and he drove all the way from Vestfossen to the famous beaches of Rogaland and Jæren in the western part of Norway. There he created facinating works of art with the 3500 books. His project eaven reached national television news.
A few months after our weeding in Nes, the Norwegian national newspaper &quot;Morgenbladet&quot; made a big article about our weeding. Our high-profile strategy had worked: The weeding process in a small local library reached national media and provoked a heated debate. The article in Morgenbladet had the title &quot;The doctrine of airiness&quot;, and had a very negative angle. The expertise of the library profession was ridiculed. There was no room in the article for seeing collection development as an important part of the librarians daily work. The journalist made no distinction between a small public library and for excample a national library. The debate was characterized by two opposed camps. There seems to be a conflict between library staff and many of the users. The &quot;book lovers&quot;, who found the very idea of removing books distasteful, did not really accept the use of turnover rates and other statistical tools to manage the collection. They argued qualitatively, in terms of values. The &quot;user-oriented managers&quot; saw the need for a shift of emphasis from books to people, for general guidelines and for the use of quantitative data in collection development. On our second weeding &quot;stunt&quot; the situation was completely different. Because of the art project, the weeding in Vestfossen got a lot of publicity in the local media and even reached national news. The most interesting with all this attention was that none of the articles had any negative angling. We felt that the journalists understood the importance of weeding and collection development.
We where very proud when the Department of culture deceided to use a picture from the weeding in the white paper released in June. The white paper concerning the Norwegian library sector was debated in the Norwegian Parliament in June 2009. One of the important proposals had to do with statistics and analysis. The white paper focused on the need for better surveys and analysis. Based on indicators and mapping, updated status reports will be developed for the whole library sector in Norway. The Norwegian Government acknowledge the need for a more knowledge based library practice.
Less is more
Less is more - Turnover rates and professional debate in Norway <ul>Jannicke Røgler Library adviser at Buskerud County Library. Research fellow at Oslo University College, Norway 8 th Performance Measurement Conference Florence </ul>
Buskerud County 1 Drammen 2 Flesberg 3 Flå 4 Gol 5 Hemsedal 6 Hol 7 Hole 8 Hurum 9 Kongsberg 10 Krødsherad 11 Lier 12 Modum 13 Nedre Eiker 14 Nes 15 Nore og Uvdal 16 Ringerike 17 Rollag 18 Røyken 19 Sigdal 20 Øvre Eiker 21 Ål (Source: Wikipedia)