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janet perry wrote:

> Am I the only one who has never done an inventory in all the years 
> I've been a librarian, and don't intend to start now?  Is inventory a 
> sacred cow we learn about, or hear rumors and horror stories about in 
> library school, and are too afraid to change?  What does doing a 
> formal inventory do for us?

No, you aren't the only one who doesn't do a formal inventory. For 10 
years I was the only librarian (and part-time at that) at a library that 
had more than 31,000 books. During those 10 years I did some shelf 
reading, but that was about it. I had no money to buy books, the 
administration thought that all books were equal in value, so therefore 
weeding was forbidden, and in general the library was considered a 
necessary nuisance. I left there in 1998, and I'm still a one-man show, 
but at least I'm a full-time librarian in a library with less than 6000 
books. Like Janet, I've got a pretty good idea of what is here and what 
isn't. Eventually, I get around to deleting books that have been missing 
for several years, but often, the book shows up a week after I deleted 
it, so I'm not in much of a hurry.

Probably the best argument for doing a proper inventory is when you are 
leaving. It is frustrating for a new librarian to look up something in 
the catalog, see that the computer says it is on the shelf, and then 
find that it isn't there. Is it out of place, "borrowed," lost, stolen, 
or what? I'm planning to retire in 2015 (+/- a year or two), and I hope 
to have a good inventory done then. Until then, I'll settle for some 
thorough, partial inventories that actually help me weed and purchase.

David Lininger, kb0zke,
MS/HS librarian
Hickory County R-1 Schools
Urbana, MO 65767
tss003 at tnp dot more dot net

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