Easter Holidays are nearly finished and the final term of the year will soon be starting next week. During the holidays, a stock check took place in the library. This labour intensive task, which the librarian carries out every two to four years, is necessary for checking condition of the book stock and other resources as well as helping us to ascertain how many books are missing.
By missing, we mean those resources that have been unofficially borrowed from the library and not returned. People may forget to get them properly stamped out or just take them thinking they only need them in the classroom for a few minutes. Books cost money so it is important that we have a proper record of what is available on the shelves in the library as well as those that are out on loan. Any resources borrowed are the property of the school and should not be removed from the library without permission – in other words, get them properly stamped out.
The stock check involves all books and other resources being taken off the shelves, by the trolley load, and taken to the issue desk where they are scanned in to the Library Management System on the computer. This automatically checks them against the database of all library resources. In most cases the resources can be placed back on the shelves but sometimes discrepancies appear, usually barcodes that come up as ‘invalid’. These books are kept to one side to be checked against catalogue records just in case the original cataloguing process didn’t complete properly. If they are not in the catalogue, which occasionally happens they, if appropriate are later catalogued and re-shelved. Sometimes books that weren’t in the catalogue are ones which were originally missing and had made their way back onto the shelves.
It took four days (it used to take two – three weeks in the days of the card catalogue) to complete the physical work of shifting and scanning the books. Whilst the books were off the shelves the opportunity was taken to give the usually hidden parts of shelving a good hovering and dusting. Thankfully, this year no untoward items of old food were found, although the dust bunnies were a plenty.
This year 1.7% of total stock has been recorded as missing. This is not too bad a result baring in mind it has been four years since the last check. Of this just over 50% are fiction books, from the most heavily used section. Despite being a low rate of attrition in the grand scheme of things, it is still disappointing to have missing stock, particularly when the books are some of the newer resources.
Of course, after such a comprehensive check, the library shelves are now very tidy.
To attempt to get at least some of the resources back we will be running a two week book amnesty from 14th to 25th April. Overdue reminders will be put on hold (although reminders will be sent out to senior pupils before they go on study leave). Books that have been [accidentally] removed from the library without being stamped out, overdue books and even department text books can be returned to the library with no questions asked.
So, pupils and staff, please check under beds, personal bookshelves, school bags, departments, etc. and see if there are any library books that need returned. As an incentive there will be a small Easter egg reward for anyone (admitting to) returning books from the missing list.