Reason for policy

The vision of the Library service is to enrich and empower every individual and community throughout their lives by offering access to resources for information, learning and enjoyment.

The provision and management of library stock contributes to this vision by working to the following four objectives:

  • To provide a welcoming and stimulating environment in order to encourage the use of library materials for relaxation and leisure purposes and to act as a focal point for the local community.
  • To promote access to materials and services for all customers in Bath and North East Somerset 
  • To conserve and reinforce local identity, heritage and history and to enable residents and communities to develop an understanding of their own and other cultures.
  • Library stock will: 
    Be in a variety of accessible formats and languages 
    Support lifelong learning
    Provide accurate, balanced and current information

A summary of the stock management policy’s central elements 

Core Lending in Libraries

How we do it

Stock is provided to meet the needs and demands of the whole community, for all ages and reading levels and is provided in the most suitable formats in proportions matched to need and demand.

Best practice in public libraries elsewhere, customer feedback, new technologies and trends in society at large are monitored to inform this process.

Further Details

All libraries maintain core collections of adult fiction and non-fiction; children’s fiction and non-fiction; adult and children’s audio books on cassette, CD and MP3 digital recordings (Playaways); large print books; maps and DVDs. Bath Central Library also holds the Authority’s collection of music CDs and music scores.

Stock is chosen and kept as part of the main collections in all libraries to support the needs and interests of people of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and heterosexual orientation.

Stock is selected to meet the needs and interests of different religious / faith groups.

Stock is used in displays to celebrate a variety of religious festivals at appropriate times of the year. Libraries accept donations of books from different religious / faith groups.

The amounts of each type of stock are determined by individual library profiles, which are based on internally & externally compiled data and are reviewed annually.

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Specialist & Targeted Stock

How we do it

Special collections of local history and historic material are maintained at Bath Library. Other libraries have small collections of printed material and maps relating to their specific locality in accordance with their branch profile.

Digitisation projects will be developed to maximise access to local interest material and also bring in additional income e.g. through the reproduction of digitally stored photographs.

To satisfy demand for hard to obtain or out of print material we maintain a reserve collection of out-of print lending stock, both for adults and children which includes a back list of classic works.

Stock is provided in languages other than English in libraries with an identified need based on their community profile or expressed demand from customers.

Stock is selected to support national or local initiatives aimed at specific target groups e.g. adults with basic skills needs; regional reader promotion activities.

Further Details

Bath Central Library is recognised as having a specialist remit to house and to make available detailed and in depth information about the history of Bath and its environs. Resources to develop this specialism are made available from the overall service budget. These resources include specialist staff, secure and environmentally controlled storage, money for conservation and money for purchase of items for the collection from specialist dealers or auctions.

Bath Central Library has material in all major European languages, Chinese and Indic languages. Any titles in languages not kept in stock can be obtained via specialist book suppliers or our inter library loans service.

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Library Use Only Material

How we do it

The amount of stock designated as Library Use Only is kept to a minimum in every library in accordance with each libraries individual stock profile. The aim is for the majority of stock to be available for loan.

The number of ‘Library Use Only’ items purchased annually is reviewed annually.

Back copies of periodicals will only be kept if they are in demand or have a local relevance.

Further Details

Stock is categorised as being for

Library Use Only if it is :

1. Exceptionally valuable
2. In great demand on a daily basis
3. In a format that is not suitable for loan
4. Unique or rare 

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Material Online & Electronic Formats

How we do it

Access to online resources is key to our future development as a cheaper and more efficient alternative to printed formats and therefore they will continue to be a central feature of stock development. We will continue to extend the range of online material available for staff and customers and explore potential for e-books and other electronic formats.

Further Details

Online products are made available via Peoples Network Computers in Libraries and where possible via any PC for library users. 

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Interloans service in line with regional and nationally agreed standards

How we do it

We aim to obtain a copy of any book or periodical article requested by a customer. Any new item which is suitable for library use and falls within our existing criteria for stock selection is purchased on request.  Older, out-of-print, or otherwise unsuitable items are borrowed via the Inter Library Loans scheme for a fee as specified in the current scheme of fees and charges.

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Manage and dispose of stock efficiently

How we do it

Stock selection and acquisition procedures are reviewed regularly to ensure that they are efficient and conform to recommendations of national bodies such as National Acquisitions Group (NAG) and DCMS.

Servicing requirements will be kept to a minimum by regular review of need and comparison with NAG standards.

Ongoing management of current stock is enabled through the use of individual branch profiles.

Any material that is no longer in demand, is showing out of date information or is damaged may be removed from stock as long as it is not part of the local history or special historical collections.

New technologies that can assist in the development of more efficient and meaningful stock management will be sought.

Further Details

Supplier selection is being developed in partnership with our main suppliers and Consortium colleagues to enable our own staff to focus on the management and promotion of stock.

Stock reports are monitored regularly and provide information on the balance of stock levels across the authority.

At the discretion of the Libraries’ Stock Team material will be disposed of following council’s guidelines to ensure that we receive best value for money.  Options for disposal of unwanted, tatty or out of date stock are constantly under review.

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology introduced into B&NES Libraries in 2008, offers opportunities for improvements to stock control, circulation and promotion, in addition to increasing opportunities for self service.

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Opportunities for accessing our stock

How we do it

An increasing proportion of stock each year is circulated between libraries. RFID technology greatly enhances our ability to manage stock circulation.

Methods of display are revised and developed continually. Best practice in public libraries elsewhere, customer feedback, new technologies and trends in society at large are monitored to inform this process.

Access to our stock is made possible through a widening number of alternative venues and opportunities.

Alternative opportunities for customers to collect or return library materials are to be developed in line with overall service developments.

Activities to stimulate participation in reading and library use are held regularly. A core list of activities will become mainstream activities in all libraries rather than ‘added extras’.

We produce an annual programme of promotions and events targeted at specific groups or linked to major national or local events.

Opportunities for improving access to Local History material are sought and exploited.

Further Details

All libraries circulate stock to ensure the widest audience reach.  Rotation plans are constructed according to library profiles and function automatically as part of the automated library management system.

Non-fiction will continue to be displayed using the Dewey Decimal System in Bath, Keynsham and Midsomer Norton Libraries. Alternative methods for displaying non fiction will be explored for smaller venues to enable customers to find material as easily and conveniently as possible.

Quick select collections will be established in all venues.

New ways of delivering the service such as home delivery, home ordering using volunteers with laptops and deposit collections in non library locations are being explored. We provide stock for the Home Library Service, Adult Residential Homes and Day Centres on a regular basis to ensure access to a variety of books and other appropriate formats for people of all ages.

The use of RFID technology enables self service opportunities to be offered in libraries and non library venues.

Examples of activities currently held are reading groups for adults and children; Summer Reading Challenge; baby book crawl; author events; storytimes; visits to libraries from community groups; Six Book Challenge. 

Bath Library supports the work of Read Around Bath, taking books in a variety of formats to groups who cannot access Library buildings E.G. Vital Link &  First Choice for adults with low literacy levels; Man Booker prize displays; Got Kids Get Reading collection for family reading; annual events held in partnership with the Bath Literature Festival.

Collections continue to be catalogued and listed; images are being digitised as part of our partnership with Bath in Time.

Best practice in public libraries elsewhere, customer feedback, new technologies and trends in society at large are monitored to inform this process.

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Making the most of our finite resources

How we do it

We will continue to work in partnership with the LibrariesWest Consortium so that we:

1. Provide access to stock in all consortium libraries for any consortium customer in person or via the Consortium website
2. Negotiate jointly the subscriptions to online information sources and contracts with suppliers
3. Co-operate with wider regional and national initiatives to get the best value from new contracts
4. Maximise the use of staff expertise and specialist knowledge across the five member authorities

Use of specialist knowledge from colleagues and professionals in other organisations is sought to advise on titles for specific stock areas; e.g. law; health; education; IT; music.

Further Details

National agreements are being negotiated for the supply of further on-line information material.

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Involve our customers in stock development

How we do it

Customers are encouraged to make suggestions for stock purchase to library staff, through the web site or on service suggestion forms.

Reservations for specific titles made through the reservation system are monitored daily. Stock is purchased in response to these requests where suitable – see interloans section.

Customer feedback and opinion is sought through a variety of channels across the authority.

We will develop opportunities for specific target groups to participate in stock selection and thus become more engaged with libraries.

Further Details 

Book reviews can now be submitted via the on-line library catalogue.

Customer Satisfaction levels are monitored via PLUS surveys and council surveys.

We participate in ad hoc surveys when requested e.g. surveys from publishers or library suppliers and consult customer focus groups such as the teenage reading group in Keynsham Library selects teenage material for Keynsham.

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