Summary – Collection Management – 6th June 2013
I’m really sorry for how long it’s taken me to get this summary up!
The topic for #uklibchat on 6th June was ‘Collection Management’, and if you’d like to get an idea of some of the wide variety of activities that could include, you could do worse than checking out our guest article posted back in June: The Many Faces of Collection Management.
Similarly, during the chat we heard from librarians of all types, sharing their success stories, challenges, questions and tips about developing a library collection pver time and managing stock on a day-to-day basis. In putting together this summary some tweets have been edited or combined for clarity, but I’ve tried to retain the original meaning in all cases.
Q1) Are you responsible for collection management in your organisation? What kind of collections do you manage?
- @shibshabs I’m a solo school librarian in Nottingham. I have full responsibility for collection management. I have 2 main sections in fiction – YA for yr 9&above (or with parental permission) and everything else for all
- @poetryghost Sadly no. I get to buy some stock a certain times of year. So far mainly Junior stock, but shortly soon Adult. Before the restructure I had full responsibility for a specific collection in the library. Now no-one does. We use supplier selection, some specific purchases at times by librarians, and some collection management using Smart SM/CollectionHQ
- @LottieMSmith Hi I’m Charlotte. I work in a large Faculty library so collect for many arts disciplines related to European countries. I manage the German collections (art, lit, phil, history etc), all European film and all our journals
- @Annie_Bob I’m responsible for collection of children’s lit (bit unusual for a HE lib) & do some ordering etc. for the main collection
- @rachelcchavez1 I work in an FE College and my job title is resources & content. I look after physical & online subscription resources
- @old_light Bodleian CM: 1. subject librarians doing selection, retention, disposal; 2. others doing stock management, storing & moving
- @dave1lloyd responsible for all resources circa £615k
- @cy3__ hi Claudia here. I work at a FE/ HE institute. it’s not my main role, but I’m currently working on a collection development project. I’m managing the HE business section. As I’m still a trainee, my line manager checks through and gives feedback.
- @uklibchat @cy3__ do you find that a good way to learn the ropes?
- @cy3__ @uklibchat definitely. Was given initial guidelines, but have a lot of freedom. Main thing I’ve learned is the more you know a subject, the better you are in the role. I’ve had a lot of opportunity re. weeding/ acquisition projects. really good traineeship with lots of useful advice. Dug up blogpost on preliminary thoughts to my first collection development/ stock management project: http://t.co/fEDMemcwTr
Q2) What has been your most challenging task or decision related to collection management?
- @shibshabs Knowing what will be borrowed is tough, it’s hard to predict what pupils want!
- @poetryghost @shibshabs I think that can be hard in any collection, even with statistics and experience
- @shibshabs @poetryghost that’s good to hear, I’ve got no prior exp of CM or working w/ teens so often blame that
- @poetryghost @shibshabs I should qualify experience does help. It just doesn’t solve all your problems
- @shibshabs @poetryghost yeah, I am def better at knowing my users’ tastes after nearly a year in the job
- @poetryghost @shibshabs also experience can be a two edged sword. On the one hand using it servers your CURRENT users better, on the other hand. Using experience to serve current users may exclude reluctant, dispossessed or potential users.
- @Annie_Bob @poetryghost I think that’s an excellent point, need to think about why people aren’t using your collection
- @shibshabs Also difficult to choose non-fiction with no input from teaching staff
- @Annie_Bob@shibshabs it’s the same in my library (university) some lecturers are great & really involved, others are unresponsive
- @shibshabs @Annie_Bob I think it is a universal problem for librarians unfortunately! We’re here to serve users, tell us what you want!
- @rachelcchavez1 Trying to monitor demand when students don’t tell us they can’t find the book or don’t reserve!
- @LottieMSmith Managing collections to make them as relevant as possible to majority of undergrads takes care and thought. Need knowledge of collections and users
- @Annie_Bob trying to find the right balance between getting new releases and filling in gaps in the existing collection is tricky. Also frustrating when lecturers don’t pass on their reading lists to the library, we’re expected to magically have everything!
- @cy3__ Q2. could be more tutor input regarding prospective/ usefulness of texts. hard to act without specialised knowledge
- @dave1lloyd use a company to take away old stock – raises a small amount of money
- @poetryghost Upcoming challenge is going to be purchasing stock for adults. I have no knowledge or experience in that area beyond personal reading. I guess one of the collection management challenges for my colleagues now is training paraprofessionals in collection mgmt. This can be difficult when collection management is seen as a constant series of projects alongside long term collection management strategies. For example. We use SmartSM/CollectionHQ fr some weeding & stock mgmt but paraprofessional staff are also doing 1 off projects. Many still struggle with stock that might be a little grubby is stock that ppl are interested in, don’t throw before replacing. They also struggle with understanding that a pristine old book that never goes out is not worth keeping. No-one wants to read it.
- @rachelcchavez1 How do you monitor use within the library though? It may never have been borrowed but still used a lot.
- @Annie_Bob @rachelcchavez1 some libraries scan in books left on desks to log them as read, not exhaustive but can help to give an idea
- @old_light @rachelcchavez1 We’re exploring the possibility of analysing catalogue search data in addition to loan and request data
- @poetryghost @rachelcchavez1 if you could track the path stock takes round the library in people’s hands that could give some indication.
Q3) How do you think the increase in e-resources will affect how library collections are managed?
- @Annie_Bob At Cambridge, e-resources are managed centrally so College librarians aren’t directly involved in their management
- @old_light the effect of e resources varies by subject area. Sciences are very e focused, arts subjects much less so. I’m interested to see how e-legal deposit will affect our intake of print legal deposit over the coming years
- @StevenHeywood 3 issues for me: availability, accessibility and serendipity. Availability — can you find it? Can you see it? Is it there (wherever “there” is)? Accessibility — how much additional technical/staff mediation is required to use it? Serendipity— how can you bump into something you didn’t know you wanted/needed? Modelling user experience of these issues in virtual world less easy than in physical due to diversity of start & end points.
- @SaintEvelin [Assistant librarian at one of the three Great Universities] 3) I predict lots of skipping; some regretted, most not. Last 2 workplaces prioritising ebooks on account of potential reach; physical texts increasingly a luxury extra or stand-in? Need to think long and hard about ownership / rights questions before throwing away assets for rentals. But ooh the space…
- @cy3__ imo, lots of overlap, and pretty much the same principles. minus the need for going insane with the weeding.
- @dave1lloyd in answer to proposing an increase in e-book and e-audiobooks suppliers told to find savings if e-copy cheaper than printed
- @poetryghost I am not sure but e-resources must give u a wealth of data on actual usage & uptake. We’ve seen this w new online subscription. However being an eresource doesn’t change a budget limits. For eg. if u have overdrive u may be able to see what being read, however, those stats won’t tell you what MIGHT be read if you had access to it.
Q4) How do you manage weeding of physical stock? How much do you involve tutors?
- @Annie_Bob At a previous job we used to give lecturers a sheet of stickers, got them to walk the shelves dotting which they would weed. Of course the hard part is getting them into the library
- @cy3__ re. stock management & reading lists, ideally would like more tutor involvement as their knowledge would be useful.
- @osborne_antony Difficult as we need to liaise but don’t want them keeping lots of tat that doesn’t get used. We check whether items are on reading lists & if not look at the usage stats. If written are unsure we may well consult.
- @cy3__ we do a ‘weed and feed’ inviting tutors to lib, to browse books and make suggestions for management, and we offer nibbles.
- @poetryghost Am not an academic/education librarian. So will adapt answer for my field. A colleague used to try and liaise with local secondary school to get them to tell us what their chosen set texts were to help purchases however response was quite variable. Schools can be very hit and miss in terms of getting partnerships and communications outside of school. For us it was a giant change to get paraprofessionals more involved in colln mgmt. I do not think it has gone too well. This change to paraprofessional involvement has gone badly because it has been mismanaged. In my view it has been managed badly because there is too much emphasis on “quick wins”. Colln mgmt is complex & long term
- @dave1lloyd provided teenagers with their own budgets (£25 each) to purchase for a library – helped to build bridges
- @dave1lloyd most stock bought via supplier selection little professional input after initial set up
- @poetryghost @dave1lloyd we buy most of our stock by supplier selection the same way but “top up” with staff selection. It’s not a bad mix
- @dave1lloyd @poetryghost are staff selections allocated to staff buying city wide or staff buying for a library?
- poetryghost @dave1lloyd staff generally buy for whole authority. Although sometimes on request it will be for a specific library.
- @Bibli_Jo_phile We ask library assistants to carry out maintenance weeding & do BIG weeds with librarians a couple of times a year
- @shibshabs I weeded a LOT of non-fic at start of year and asked teachers to let me know if any of it should stay, 1 responded
- @poetryghost thinking about selecting stock paraprofessional staff & their knowledge of what customers are asking for is not used consistently. We need to be incorporating frontline staff impressions of customer needs and wants into stock selection.
- @shibshabs I weed based on lack of borrowing and state of book (pgs falling out etc)
- @cy3__ issues re. shelf space (we’ve started emptying lower shelf to make access easier for wheelchair users).
Q5) In academic libraries, to what extent are collection management staff involved in Open Access?
- @uklibchat Wiki article on Open Access: http://t.co/Bw3wWnPDMv
- @rachelcchavez1 thanks for that. We have no involvement – hence why I had to ask what it meant!
- @Annie_Bob I’ve had no involvement in OA so far, but my boss has offered to talk to academics about it if they want
- @uklibchat We had a chat back in Feb about Open Access where some of the implications were discussed: ow.ly/lMwfD Looks like not many of us here today are involved in OA so we’ll move onto the next question
Q6) Do you usually collect suggestions from your users to buy new materials for your collections?
- @poetryghost We’ve had 2 recent projects engaging with public for specific branches to actively ask for stock suggestions. Mainly FIC tho
- @SaintEvelin Online suggestion forms at all the places I’ve worked. Patron driven acquisition may prove an interesting CD model in e-space. Places I’ve worked also have high book usage / holds requests triggering further orders.
- @poetryghost @SaintEvelin THAT is cool. There must be some exceptions. Is not possible to have sufficient daisy meadows or car theory test bks
- @cy3__ only started building fiction collection this year. student involvement/recommendation akin to promotion
- @poetryghost in the past we had a wishlist which were then used during purchases. Now it’s more a case of passing on suggestions adhoc
- @cy3__ Q6. @HertsLibraries have youth consultancy group. given £1000 budget to look at suppliers, buy books and organise launch event. @HertsLibraries youth consultancy group (16-25yo) develops collection development and event management skills
- @dave1lloyd option to suggest new titles via online catalogue proving popular – attracted more people to make suggestions
- @Annie_Bob we have a recommendation book at the enquiry desk, ask in annual survey & are happy to take requests at any time
- @shibshabs pupils do some “weeding” by not returning books, they’re chased up but eventually the books are removed from lms
- @poetryghost @shibshabs perhaps you also need to see this as highlighting stock that means a lot to those who borrow?
- @shibshabs @poetryghost I’d love it if that was the case but I think it’s just disengagement with the library/forgetfulness
- @cy3__ yes, have order sheet for users to add recommendations at front desk
- @Bibli_Jo_phile We have a youth board who help buy manga/graphic noves and children/YA audio and e-books.
- @shibshabs Yes, tell yr 7s in induction and ask other users for requests as and when appropriate
- @Annie_Bob University recently started trialling patron driven acquisition for e-books
- @dave1lloyd @Annie_Bob #uklibchat any public libraries tried patron driven acquisition?
- @poetryghost @dave1lloyd @Annie_Bob in what way?
- @dave1lloyd @poetryghost @Annie_Bob PDA for e-books or e-audio – seen it for academic libraries but not public
- @daveyp @Annie_Bob Several studies have shown that PDA selected ebooks get 2 to 3 times avg usage of librarian selected ones. We crunched our PDA usage data and it was slightly over 2 times as much usage, which was surprising, as most of our librarian selected ebook purchases are to support reading lists
- @poetryghost @daveyp @Annie_Bob sorry for the idiocy but what do you mean by PDA usage? What is that?
- @Annie_Bob @poetryghost @dave1lloyd I may get details slightly wrong here but I believe all the titles available for purchase showed on the catalogue in the same way as owned titles. Students see preview then trigger purchase by clicking to full e-book, so the titles purchased are selected by patrons not librarians. But there are different models I think. For our trial there was a fixed budget (which was spent very quickly)
- @daveyp @poetryghost @Annie_Bob The supplier gives your users access to a huge number of ebooks and, after a certain level of usage, they get bought. The purchase happens automatically (e.g. if two people look at the same ebook for more than 5 minutes). The patron has no idea that all the ebooks they browse & read aren’t already part of the library collection. You set aside a specific budget and the supplier switches off access to unpurchased books when money spent. Unless the profile is too narrow/specific, chances are you’ll spend up quickly
- @dave1lloyd @poetryghost @Annie_Bob not seen it but could e-book supplier put all available titles on library website – if public want to read select title and automatically bought and added to catalogue
- @Dave1lloyd pre supplier selection did run a session in the middle of the library with staff purchasing stock from online list – public liked
- @LOLintheLibrary Yes. Suggestions book is heavily used by out book club members and others too 🙂
- @shibshabs Series recommendations r v. important,teens love a series!& I’ll use Amazon/similar to get recs of similar titles
Q7) In what ways will Open Access developments impact on collection management?
- @cy3__ better and more powerful search engines
- @SaintEvelin Prob depends what way OA goes: possibly end up with most of our budget reallocated for publishing fees…Big double-dipping problem with us paying for publishing and paying for journals and paying for platforms / databases too.
- @kirsty_thomson theoretically should mean less spending on journal subs, but won’t until everything in bundled deal goes fully OA. And someone still has to pay the publishing fees, so pattern of spending will probably change rather than reduce
Q8) Any tips on collection management/weeding when you don’t have circulation stats?
- @rachelcchavez1 Surely that’s when you have to rely on reading lists and tutor input.
- @poetryghost talk to your patrons and staff, assess condition, talk to relevant other staff or bodies (e.g. teachers or client groups).
- @Annie_Bob I guess this is a small library without an LMS, probably need an observant librarian to know what’s being used!
- @LibraryTasha I always weed by checking the dates so if it’s 10 years old and not a ‘classic’ doesn’t need to be on the shelf or if there are newer versions/editions (this may only work because I work in a small specialist library)
- @SaintEvelin Saw a documents box with a seal on it from early ’80s: “Break seal to open” or similar. Quick way of gauging usage. As is dust!
- @Bibli_Jo_phile Condition weeding and weeding non-fic by publication date. Again using youth boards etc to advise on weeding.