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I do inventory, hopefully every year, but don't worry if I have to skip a
year. I do it in chunks at times when the library isn't busy, such as the
PSAT test day, other testing, conference days etc. I do have a hand held
scanner device which makes it easy. It usually takes me about 3 days,
working after school for an hour or so to do a section such as the 900s.

WHY I do it;

The inventory is as much  for my customers as it is for me. It is so
frustrating to teach kids to use the opac, then have inaccurate data.
Findings books, that say they are in, but not finding them on the shelf is a
big turn off to using the OPAC. I minimize by trying my best to keep my
collection itself and the database of the collection in sync.

While I am using the inventory scanner, one reason I don't work faster than
I do is that I shelf read at the same time. Even with shelf reading, I find
via the inventory report, items that are totally mis shelved. I also find
things that are not actually in my database, for one reason or another,
often because it isn't one of my books in the first place.

I do have a part time aide, but he isn't the best shelver in the world.
Plus, I like to keep my hand in working the shelves, that is the way I keep
up with my collection. During inventory I can relook at my collection,
notice books I had forgotten about, notice things that need fixing etc. Even
though I feel that I know my collection, every inventory I find or am
reminded about materials that I can use with a class or a project.

At my school, we inventory every piece of equipment at least twice a year.
Textbooks are inventoried, keys are inventoried. I make sure admin knows
that I inventory as well, I think it is one way to keep them informed that
the library is a part of the school and needs looked after.

Deborah Stafford
Gen. H.H. Arnold High School
Wiesbaden, Germany

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