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Using library stocktaking data to make evidence-based decisions about library procedures and policies
Library Conference Papers (2009)
  • Ailsa Parker

A stocktake prior to a move to a new building ensures that holdings on the library catalogue are accurate and items on the shelves arranged correctly. Whitireia Community Polytechnic at Porirua, New Zealand, followed this procedure. Regular stocktakes had been done, but some investigation into best practice was required as the stocktake was to be electronic rather than manual. A loss rate was identified as well as problem areas, and evidence gained from the stocktake was then appraised and evaluated in terms of other data from within the library system e.g. the previous stocktake, item loan records and intra-campus loan data. Results were benchmarked against other academic libraries, although New Zealand data was difficult to obtain. A set of recommendations and best practice guidelines was then drawn up. Probably one of the most useful sources of benchmarking data and guidelines was Theft and loss from UK libraries: a national survey. This 1992 paper from the Crime Prevention Unit Series by John Burrows and Diane Cooper, details definition, frequency, extent and nature of loss from British libraries.

The library is now in its new building and the results of any future stocktake will need to be examined in terms of changes to the physical layout of the library e.g. non-library staff can exit the building without going through security gates, the staff information desk is now a considerable distance from the security gates and users have access to an external deck. A separate Maori collection has also been created. In addition, recent well-publicised thefts from New Zealand libraries has generated some literature on the subject of stocktaking and theft, so this can also be incorporated into future benchmarking and planning.

  • library,
  • stocktake,
  • best practice
Publication Date
April 8, 2009
Citation Information
Ailsa Parker. "Using library stocktaking data to make evidence-based decisions about library procedures and policies" Library Conference Papers (2009)
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