One of the first things I do when I come in the morning is POSH which stands for Pull On Shelf Holds. Meaning the books that have been placed on holds by customers need to be pulled and processed so that they can be sent to whichever library they want to pick it up. I’ve used this function many of times since our libraries are spread out far. Sometimes customers don’t appreciate that service or understand the limitations of a public library as they will place the hold that morning and expect for it to be pulled and waiting for them within an hour. In my head I’m thinking we’re the Library not Best Buy but outloud I try to explain why that isn’t possible; really what can you do?
So anyways back to the point of this post, so every morning I usually help with POSH unless I have something else that needs to get done asap. Lately we’ve noticed the number of books that are going un-found because of shelving mistakes is starting to increase. I’ve also noticed a good number of books missing in my sections. Now being that this is a public library it’s expected to have books go missing and misplaced it’s still disturbing. My supervisor asked that we all do emergency shelf reading in our sections to try an reduce some of the problem. I’m an old hat at shelf-reading and I use to prefer to shelf-read. But I knew shelf-reading wasn’t going to do much because I knew that my branch hadn’t been inventoried in years. I brought up the topic with my boss only to find out that they uppers had decided to inventoried the branches but not the main one.
This was kind of discouraging to me as I knew that we needed it really bad. So it got me to thinking about my time in Circualtion and how we couldn’t just close down the library for inventory, but we still did inventory especially when preparing for any major move. That’s when I decided instead of standing there shelf-reading for 30 minutes or so I would pull a section of books from the shelves. Take them to the computer scan them under the inventory function, shelf read them, and then put them back on the shelves. This allowed me to straighten them as well as redistribute the shelves to alleviate crowding.
Yes it takes longer to do and it’s more involved, but at the end of it I’ll know that I’ve touched each book, and that I can run a report that will show me what books the computer says is there but aren’t physically because they weren’t inventoried (minus those I know won’t be there.) Pages and volunteers can do it and it’s a way around not closing the whole branch or floor for inventory.
Already I’ve come across three books in one section that wasn’t in the catalog…I wouldn’t have found them by simply shelf reading.