Saturday, 6 June 2015

Inventory. The how and the why

Every year at this time, I am exhausted. For me, June is a different kind of countdown. While classroom teachers are counting down days of instruction left, I'm trying not to feel overwhelmed by the number of library resources that need to be returned in the next 20 days. I'm also gearing up for inventory which I do every year. I've also found that I tend to do inventory differently than most.

Before I start inventory, I do the following:
1. Weeding. In preparation for inventory, I have spent 4 half days going through the collection and weeding. This weeding is pretty intense as I've gone through and really looked at sections to see what is outdated.

2. Ordering. As I have been weeding the collection, I have been making notes of books I need to buy and/or replace. There are some books that I am not willing to part with until I can find a suitable replacement. So, those Wildflowers of BC books that are ancient and would be weeded in any other library, live to see another year in the CNB library because I know the Outdoor Education students will be looking for them next fall.

When inventory starts, I still print out a hard copy of the shelf lists. I know that the technology is there to scan the barcodes and run reports, but I'm old school. Why I print hard copies:

1.Handling the collection. By running through the collection manually, I touch every single book. As a result, even though I have heavily weeded beforehand, I weed while doing inventory. Today we tackled the 000 to 380 section of the nonfiction and I weeded out about another 15 books.

2. Anomalies. With two sets of eyes looking at the collection, we also see any anomalies in cataloguing. I will find the odd book that completely in the wrong section. More often than not, I will find gems that I didn't know about. These gems are catalogued just perfectly but they are not being found. Either I need to adjust their Dewey or I need to add better subjects so that these books are found when searched.

3. Note-taking. Having a paper copy means that we take a lot of notes. I like to jot down any areas that need to be updated that I missed on my pre-inventory look. I also like to make note of books that I should ship off to one teacher or another. I also think about the collection in terms of the curriculum. With new curriculum on the horizon, I'm looking to see where I will need to purchase books.

Like everything, you get as much out of inventory as you put into it. For me, inventory does take a long time, but I find I benefit greatly from it. At the end of June when it is all done, I'm happy to know that the collection is very clean, I feel confident that I know the collection a little bit better, and I'm very much aware of what books are my top priority for purchase in the new school year.

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