IUG 2001 Conference Proceedings

Table of Contents

Session: C1/J9

Inventory in Circulation Function

Marilyn Liedorff, Wayne State College

Jan Brumm, Wayne State College

The presenters went through the step by step process that they used to do a complete inventory of their college library. They showed examples of the forms developed for the project and discussed methods used for the follow up to the inventory. There were also tips about keeping the collection under a manageable level.

An excellent handout was included in the Conference Notebook outlining their procedures.

Because they intended to work from shelf lists, they did intensive shelf reading of the heavy use areas for a month before the inventory. The Innovative inventory module prepared the shelf list.

Because they are a college library, they had the option of closing for a week between semesters and recalling all of the books on loan during the inventory period.

The shelf list was separated into sections and distributed to the workers. Warning Don't assign people to their favorite areas because they will do more browsing than checking.

Shifts ran about 2 to 2 1/2 hours for the inventory workers.

The presenters hid treats among the collection to be found as rewards by the workers. These included "break certificates" for extra time off, small candies, and gift certificates.

Forms were created to be placed in problem books. The forms were easy to fill out as people worked. The problem books could then be dealt with at the end of the day.

Inventorying can be done by one or two person teams. It was recommended that one person on the team be familiar with the library numbering system since the shelf lists were in numerical order. A single person can act as a roving problem solver to help the teams.

At the end of the shift, books found out of place were reshelved correctly and the others were taken to Technical Services to have their problems handled.

After the entire collection had been inventoried the procedure started for finding items that came up missing. Student teams were used for this. Search request forms were made for each missing item and a comprehensive search was made in all possible areas for the item. Searches were also done for the possibility that the call number had been transposed when printed. When found the book was checked off on the missing list and put in the proper shelf order. Over a period of three weeks the book was searched four times. Ninety percent of the missing items were found in this way. At this point Technical Services searches for it once and then declares it officially missing. After a year the missing status becomes permanent and a decision is made about whether to replace it.

A policy of continuous shelf reading now exists. Students are assigned areas each week to read and correct. Special collections are read by the staff in that area.


Shelf List Inventory Report
Example Inventory Sheet
Example Search Request Form

Sue Hostetler, St. Joseph County Public Library