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I am reposting this as one of my sentences disappeared somewhere...

I think that Joanne's reasons sum up why I do inventory. I close the  
library for the last five days of school (or take very limited  
groups, but most classes have field days and such going on anyway)  
and do a very quick inventory with volunteers. I don't have a  
handheld device, but still have one shelflist card per title. If a  
book is missing,  I wait three years to pull the card and take the  
record out of the computer. (Our homemade internet circulation system  
has no way to note missing books (or any other bells & whistles), so  
I still keep up my shelflist.

I agree that I inventory because I want my computerized catalog to  
reflect if the book truly exists. I also need to do some weeding and  
just get a general feel for the collection once a year. As Joanne  
says, it is also very helpful when ordering replacement titles. I  
order a small amount of memorial books each June (community  
donations) and make my list as I see what needs to be discarded and/ 
or replaced.

I often write notes of ideas that I get for next year's lessons  
because books turn up (they were actually there all along) that just  
seem to fit the current curriculum. I often tell the students that I  
inventoried My Father's Dragon for 15 years and am glad that I  
finally "discovered" it one June. (I finally got a classroom set  
after all of these years and my students are enjoying the story  
tremendously.) I also often think that it would be great to have a  
classroom teacher help with inventory as he/she would find many items  
for his/her units! But that is not going to happen.

My state is working through the Dewey sections to encourage us to  
weed and update them (we did the 500s and had state money to help and  
are now working on the 600s and hoping that the money may follow some  
day). I try to pay closer attention to those sections throughout the  
year and during inventory.

Back when I had three schools, I could inventory them all in two  
weeks (about 12,000 books). Now I am glad to get these approximately  
9.000 items done in time to be able to tell kids for sure that they  
really need to be responsible for paying for their missing library  
books. My job has changed so much in the past 30 years that the  
yearly inventory often takes a back seat to a technology crisis, but  
I still feel that it is important to get it done and I get it done.
Deb Hendrickson

Deborah J. Hendrickson
Media Specialist/Technology Leader/Teacher-Librarian
Westernport Elementary School
172 Church Street
Westernport, MD 21562

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