Stock management policy
Why have a stock management policy?
Scottish Public Libraries are guided by Forward: Scotland’s Public Library Strategy 2021-2025. The strategy states a number of economic, cultural and social objectives which Public Libraries support. It re-states the centrality of books and reading to a healthy, well educated, well-adjusted population – ‘It has always been a central part of the role of a public library to inspire people through books and literature. Libraries are the only place in contemporary society where everyone, regardless of age, social demographic, or level of education has free access to books’. (p.17)
Public Libraries in Scotland also have a vital role in supporting The Scottish Government’s agendas including The Literacy Action Plan. ‘The Plan’s overarching vision is to raise standards of literacy for all from the early years to adulthood. This will require sustained commitment and continuing action at all levels of government, and through support at all points of the education system and wider public services. There will be a particular focus on those with the lowest levels of literacy. This action plan will build on existing good practice and ensure that literacy will have a central and continuing focus in education and related Government policies. It provides the strategic direction for improving literacy across the Scottish population’.
The South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture (SLLC) Libraries' stock management policy therefore exists to inform a careful and directed stewardship of the annual resources for the purchase and deployment of library stock across a wide range of formats.
This stock policy will explain the following:
1) How stock is selected
2) How books are purchased
3) How we monitor stock performance
4) How stock is censored
5) How our users influence stock selection
6) What stock categories and services we have
7) How we manage our collection
8) How the stock in our libraries links to the vision, values, objectives and priorities of South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture’s business plan.
1) How stock is selected
The aim of this document is to explain how stock is selected, managed and developed. Stock is allocated to individual branches when purchased but is a service wide resource that can be circulated to any branch within South Lanarkshire where there is customer demand. Each library depends on the others to fully meet the needs of its customers. Requests can be placed free of charge which ensures that every customer has equal access to the stock that we hold.
Adult and children’s fiction
Fiction material is primarily selected based on the popularity of the author’s previous publications and will be informed by reports generated by our current circulation system. This produces reports of the most popular 200 authors based on borrowing trends in South Lanarkshire over the previous 12 months.
Branch staff and children’s library assistants are also consulted to gather information on authors that have recently become popular in their branch. The supplier selection list is monitored continuously, and the supplier is tasked with tailoring acquisitions by means of a Managed Supplier Selection Contract.
Non-fiction material is selected using the criteria below:
Content should demonstrate quality, accuracy and currency of information, where applicable.
Material should be relevant to the development of the collections, both community and service wide.
Consideration will be given to the physical format of an item and its suitability for library use.
The cost of an item will be balanced against the benefits of the item to overall stock provision and estimated use.
Consideration will be given to whether this information or content is available elsewhere in current stock resources or in other formats.
Potential popularity due to author or genre will be assessed via the library management system and available published information including trade publications and reviews.
Works will be supported which promote diversity of lifestyles and culture.
Scottish and Gaelic Material
The cultural contribution of Scottish and Gaelic material will be recognised and supported. Scottish authors and context will be given particular consideration.
The libraries service has a responsibility to collect, retain and preserve material of local interest. Material where the author or content has a local connection will be given particular consideration.
eBooks / eAudiobooks
eBooks are made available on an attractive and user-friendly interface which is part of SLLC Libraries ‘Active-e’ service.
eBooks are selected using the same criteria as physical books. The choice of authors/titles available to public libraries is more limited than print publications and all effort is taken to ensure that a varied selection is available to customers.
It is anticipated that, as ownership of reading devices grows and more e-books become available, that the e-book collection will grow steadily to become an increasingly important part of the library’s collection.
2) How books are purchased
Popular fiction adult / junior and non-fiction adult / junior selections are commonly made three months prior to publication to ensure that stock is available in our libraries as soon after the publication date as possible. Lending stock is selected by a number of methods.
- Managed supplier selection - a detailed specification is prepared and given to the contracted book supplier. The book supplier then sends draft proposed orders to the library service for approval or modification before these become firm orders.
- In addition professional library staff will select items which are relevant to the collections within their libraries.
- Requests - customers are able to make use of a free request service whereby titles they would like to read but which are not available within SLLC collections might be purchased for the collection.
SLLC has appointed accredited principal suppliers, via a national tender process (Scotland Excel), on the basis of the services they are able to offer including format, language as well as content.
The following aids to stock selection will be used as appropriate:
- managed supplier selection
- standing order fiction lists updated on a regular basis
- specialist suppliers
- publishers catalogues and lists
- bookshop visits
- trade and specialist publications, for example The Bookseller
- user requests and suggestions
Funding for the purchase of all materials will be allocated on a pro-rata basis of the total materials fund in relation to level of issues and stock, reflecting the population and number of service points.
Central funds are held to purchase material in various stock categories for all libraries. These will include adult fiction, adult non-fiction, Mills & Boons romance, westerns, large print and spoken word (talking books), DVDs, eBooks and eMagazines. These funds will be allocated to support the supplier selection of popular material and support the maintenance of our online services.
Each cluster group of branch libraries will have a stock improvement fund based on current use and identified community needs. This budget is spent at the discretion of the Community Librarian for the branches within their cluster group.
Systems are in place to monitor and report levels of spending to ensure that resources are deployed to maximum effect.
Funding allocation is reviewed annually.
3) Stock monitoring and performance
The libraries service uses an industry standard Library Management System (‘LMS’) to monitor the performance of existing stock. The system enables evidence based decisions to be taken about new purchases thus achieving value for money. The system allows us to:
- monitor current demands to achieve more relevant collections
- make more informed buying decisions to identify stock gaps and appropriate stock levels
- identify material which should be withdrawn due to non-usage and poor condition
- rotate the material we have to other branches where there is proven customer demand
- assist in the allocation of resources
- assist in the preparation and maintenance of stock plans
- assist in identifying lost and missing stock items
- produce an audit trail from original requisition to current location with transaction details
- maintain a MARC (Machine Readable Catalogue) record for every item purchased for loan or reference within libraries, searchable by author, title, keyword, control number, classmark and series
- display enhanced bibliographic content including book jackets and film trailers
- achieve automatic stock rotation from library to library based on pre-set rules for defined areas of stock e.g. large print, spoken word, Mills & Boon romance and adult non-fiction.
- allow customers to set up ‘Alert Profiles’ via the online catalogue in order to be notified of additions to stock that match their requirements.
The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) statement on ‘Freedom of access to information’ says that ‘When a library and information service is funded by the public it should provide access to all publicly available information as far as resources allow’.
The libraries service will endeavour to make available a balanced and appropriately selected range of material.
5) User involvement
Library users are able to influence selection in the following ways:
- customer feedback and comments on library stock
- user requests and suggestions in person
- stock requests via a link on the SLLC Libraries’ catalogue online
- regular user satisfaction surveys
- comments received via the SLLC established comments, compliments and complaints scheme.
6) Stock categories and services
Book stock for adults
A range of books in all fiction genres will be available in each library.
Decisions about non-fiction purchases will be made using the selection criteria listed at section 1.
The number of copies of a title purchased will vary according to customer demand, funding availability and current stock levels.
Consideration will be given to purchasing titles to support national and local media promotions.
At least one copy of shortlisted titles nominated for the major fiction literary prizes will be purchased.
Self-published material will be considered for addition to stock for local authors or material with local content. Consideration will also be given to self-published titles by established authors whose works have previously been published by recognised publishers. Self-published material can have a lack of publishing standards i.e. no editing or proof reading and is often very poorly presented. This would be the main reason for rejecting to purchase a self-published title for a library user.
Special consideration will be given to the purchase of Scottish material, Gaelic material, local history items and material supporting lifelong learning courses within libraries.
Book stock for children
The selection of material for children and young people will follow the broad selection principles and criteria for all material as described above.
Material purchased for babies, children and young people will cover:
- fiction, including nursery books and picture books
- non-fiction, including material for parents where appropriate
- graphic novels
All libraries will include separate and identifiable collections of nursery, early readers, teenage and young adult material. Nursery books will be chosen in hardback format, wherever possible.
A range of books will be available in each library:
- one copy in hardback will be purchased where appropriate
- at least one copy of titles nominated for major junior fiction literary prizes will be purchased, in hardback if necessary.
- Summer Reading Challenge material will be purchased throughout the year. This material will be purchased in paperback and will ensure a wide range of material is available for the duration of the programme.
- the selection of junior non-fiction will aim to support children in school project work where possible.
Ebooks and multi-media formats
SLLC Libraries introduced an eBook/eAudiobook service to customers in March 2012 which was enhanced in 2017. In addition, a comprehensive selection of other multi-media material including language courses and items of factual and local interest will be provided.
Spoken word is currently purchased for the library service in the following formats: eAudio, CD. Demand for each format is monitored and standing orders for this material is adjusted on an annual basis.
Consideration will be given to supplying material in various formats according to customer demand and market availability of material and equipment. The balance between differing formats will change over time as formats increase in popularity, decrease or become obsolete. DVDs are currently in stock, however we are now not purchasing new titles due to lack of demand.
Where possible, a copy of local interest material will be obtained taking into account the physical format and content of an item.
Factual / instructional material will be purchased taking into account the education curriculum, user interest and the request guidelines.
Multi-media material will be circulated, but, because of space and funding considerations, it will not be possible to provide the full range of material in all libraries.
An e-Magazine and e-Newspaper service is available as part of the ‘Active-e’ offer and is a free service for all South Lanarkshire library users. A representative selection of popular magazine titles are available to read online.
Home delivery services
The Home Delivery service is available for library users who are physically unable to visit public library buildings. This service covers all of South Lanarkshire. Due to the demand for this service there may be a waiting list in operation. A small collection of items will be delivered monthly to a reader's home based on a personal reader profile prepared by the individual. Applications for this service can be made through all local libraries or online.
For readers with sight impairment the library service will provide a collection of books in large print format and spoken word material (talking books) at every service point. A wider range of material is available for people with visual impairments through our eBook and eAudiobook service.
Minority language material
The library service will work in partnership with local minority ethnic and cultural organisations and groups to provide material in other languages where there is a demand for this type of material. Stock will be provided by purchase, donation or via loan collections and rental agreements from other local authorities and commercial organizations.
Much general reference material is now available in electronic formats. Provision of reference services electronically is cost effective in comparison with traditional printed sources. It ensures information is up-to-date, whilst addressing rural and digital exclusion. Provision of free internet access means that information sources are available to all customers and communities regardless of geographical location. Some of these services are available to library members from home PCs and hand held devices.
A significant printed reference collection is held at Hamilton Town House Library. This collection will consist of material not available in electronic formats or where cost favours the retention of printed sources. East Kilbride, Rutherglen and Lanark Libraries will maintain printed reference collections suitable for quick reference enquiries. No other libraries will hold printed reference collections.
Local History collections constitute an important part of any library service’s range of information sources. They include a wide range of primary source material including local newspapers, specialist collections relating to aspects of local life, census and parish records, maps and photographs and assorted ephemera. This material is invaluable to historians and family history researchers.
The library service has three significant local history collections at Hamilton Town House, Rutherglen Heritage Centre and Lanark Library. East Kilbride Central Library also holds a smaller collection of material relevant to the local area. A few community libraries hold very small collections of local history material relevant to their communities.
The overriding aim is to ensure the security and conservation of this material for research purposes. The main area for development will be promoting the local history collection via the web catalogue. There is an ongoing project to ensure that as much of this collection is catalogued and therefore will be searchable by means of the online catalogue.
Services to users
Access to the library catalogue
The library service provides public access to the library catalogue at every library.
The library catalogue is available online.
Each request will be reviewed individually, taking into account current stock resources, available budgets, type of material and likely public demand. In general, an item will only be purchased if it is considered that it will offer value for money in terms of potential usage.
All requests will be monitored and library users updated on progress at regular intervals.
Non-fiction books which are out of print may be borrowed from another library service where possible (an ’Inter-Library Loan’). There will be an additional charge for this service the cost of which is set annually in a schedule of charges.
Requests for material not currently in stock are free of charge to our library users. Charges are subject to annual alteration in line with SLLC policy.
Reservations for items currently in stock
Library members have access to all material held by the library service.
Reservations can be placed free of charge for any lending stock item at any library or online. Additional copies of items in heavy demand may be purchased according to the Stock Management Guidelines. Loan periods will also be reduced for titles with long waiting lists to make these available as soon as possible.
Suggestions for items not in stock
Suggestions by library members for books and multi-media items to be purchased will be considered in line with the principles expressed in this document. These items will be allocated to the most relevant library location. Suggestions can be emailed to any of our libraries.
Multi media loan restrictions
Producers of DVD material specify which editions of new material are available for library use. This may restrict the multi-media items that we can purchase to satisfy customer requests.
The provision of multi-media resources is regularly reviewed to ensure that we are staying relevant to the needs of our customers.
Display and promotion
Libraries provide a welcoming and friendly environment to all age groups. The library service ensures that resources are easy to locate within libraries and appropriate guiding and signage is displayed. Each library ensures that the material is effectively promoted through themed displays, booklists, promotional events etc.
Readers’ Groups have been established in most of our branch libraries to promote the enjoyment of reading and discuss books.
SLLC Libraries offers a Readers Group Collection service. Sets of 12 items are available to borrow. Large print and audio items are included where available. Groups may prefer to meet in a library location or meet privately. Enquiries should be made to Hamilton Town House Library by email or telephone 01698 452122.
Library staff are encouraged to develop their own personal reading, to interact with users and to advise and encourage the reading habit. The library service will promote reader development through a variety of promotional programmes, and encourage reader feedback and involvement.
7) Collection management
Maximising the usage of all lending stock and using evidenced based systems to place the stock where there is most customer demand are key principles. Materials will be circulated around service points, using reports generated by the library management system.
Systematic stock rotation plans are set up for a number of stock categories i.e. large print, spoken word, adult non-fiction, and Mills & Boon romance so that stock is automatically moved from library to library after a set period of time. This maximises the number of customers who have an opportunity to access the resources which are purchased from limited funds.
A regular programme of stock checks for all material will be carried out to identify stock which has been stolen, not returned from loan or missing.
Procedures and systems are in place to reduce stock loss including overdue notices to customers via e-mail and post.
Care and conservation
Stock will be maintained in the best possible condition by ensuring that items are in an attractive, undamaged and clean condition. Material will be repaired or rebound as appropriate.
A binding and conservation fund will be available to enable items satisfying the above criteria to be rebound.
The objectives will be to:
- create, as far as is reasonably possible, a secure environment suitable for all stock
- ensure the identification of valuable and at risk material
- identify appropriate material for conservation, microfilming and digitisation
- maximise resources for the purposes of conservation
- determine methods of exploitation with the demands of preservation
- take account of archival policies and seek guidance from archive services and agencies
- define the key collections of the authority which are considered valuable, rare or unique
- develop and maintain Disaster Recovery Plans for local history collections.
Withdrawal and disposal
Items in poor physical condition, or those achieving limited issues, will be considered for withdrawal. Stock will be withdrawn according to written guidelines for withdrawal and discarding of stock.
Once material has been identified for disposal it may initially be offered for sale within our branch libraries. Materials not sold will then be disposed of by means of book disposal companies which offer a percentage of the income made from onward sale.
Discarded material may also be listed for second hand sale online.
8) How the stock in libraries links to the vision, values, objectives and priorities of South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture’s business plan
South Lanarkshire Leisure & Culture’s mission
“Improve health and wellbeing by offering attractive, affordable activities delivered with warmth, friendliness and individual pride”
These comprehensive Stock Management Guidelines and Standards will ensure that all library resources are managed effectively by library staff. By so doing we enrich people’s lives, catering for the cultural, information and recreational needs of individuals, organisations and communities in South Lanarkshire.
These guidelines will be reviewed every three years. The next review will be in March 2025.