Tuesday, May 15, 2018

10 Tips for End of Year Inventory


It's that time of year again-time for end of the year inventory. This is one of my least favorite parts of the job, but coming into a library that was not inventoried very often or very completely, I realize how important this task is.  After seven years, I have picked up a few tips that help the process go a little smoother.  So here are my top 10 tips for end of the year inventory...



1.  Make an "Inventory Cart" that includes
  • laptop/Chromebook with mouse
  • scanner
  • extenstion cord to plug in your laptop/Chromebook if needed
  • clipboard with an inventory checklist  (download your free checklist HERE)
  • Inventory complete signs and tape to hang up the signs  (download your free signs HERE)
  • shelf marker for marking your spot on the shelf when you have to stop for whatever reason
  • sticky notes (for when you find books that need new call numbers, barcodes, or some type of repair that isn't quick)
  • pen or pencil
  • repair supplies like reddi corners and book tape for quick repairs
  • book wipes to clean dirty books (I have also heard that DRY Mr. Clean Magic Erasers work great)
  • buckets or bins to put books that you need to weed or repair
2.  Use a rolling chair for to save your back when working on lower shelves.  I have also heard that a scooter board, borrowed from a PE teacher, works well, too.


3.  Set up your inventory to mark books accounted for from the first day of the last week of checkout.  Any books that you checked out to students that week will automatically be counted in your inventory as accounted for.  

4.  Break your inventory up into smaller sections.  It makes looking for those unaccounted for items much easier.  These are the sections I use:
  • Reference
  • 000-099
  • 100-199
  • 200-299
  • 300-399
  • 400-499
  • 500-599
  • 600-699
  • 700-799
  • 800-899
  • 921 (biographies)
  • 900-99
  • WF (Wildcat Favorites-the most popular chapter books in our Media Center)
  • JW (Junior Wildcats- these are the K and 1 reading level books in our Media Center)
  • Everybody (picture books)
  • Easy/Early Chapter Books
  • Fiction 
  • MG FIC (middle grade fiction reserved for 4th/5th due to content)
  • Professional
  • Videos
  • GR (Guided Reading class sets)
  • Equipment
This looks like a lot of sections, but not all sections have that many books in them, and it feels really good to be able to quickly cross off those sections as done.  It also goes faster if you scan all the shelves straight across and then go to the next row down.


5.   If it won't drive you bonkers, when books are returned after your last day of checkout, don't reshelve them until you have finished your inventory for the section in which they belong.   These books will automatically be counted in your inventory and reshelving them will only mean having to scan them again.  Yes, it will look like a humongous pile, but it really will save you time in the long run.


6. Pull books to weed as you go.  When you are scanning and you see books that look old and outdated, pull them and put them in one of the bins on the cart.  If you are sure you want to weed it, put a sticky note on it that says "Weed."  If you aren't sure and want to check its history checkout, put a note to "check history."


7.  When you see a book that needs a quick repair, pull it out a little from the shelf  or lay it sideways. When you get to the end of that shelf, give those books a quick repair.  I keep reddi corners on my inventory cart to be able to do those quick repairs.  Yes, this slows down inventory a bit, but I find it is quicker to do these little repairs now than to pull book, repair them, and then have to return them to the shelves.


8.  Pull books that need more than quick repairs- like new barcodes or call number stickers.  Label them with a sticky note and put them in one of the bins on your cart.


9.  If you are one who likes every book to be in order, you can click the "check shelf order" option while you are doing inventory.  You will get that "bad" sound that something is off and a note will appear on the screen that the book "appears to be shelved incorrectly."

10.  If possible, wear comfy clothes and shoes and be prepared to get a little dirty. Doing inventory can be a dirty job.

BONUS TIPS

When looking for books that are "unaccounted for" after scanning all the shelves,



  • check to be sure you didn't miss a book hiding in the back of the shelves between other books. Sometimes little books get "smushed" between to bigger books. 

  • Also look carefully to see if a book got shoved around another book.  Sometimes this happens as well.  
  • If you have a "Book Hospital" or "To Weed" pile check to see if any of the "unaccounted for" books might be there.  
  • I also have found books that I have taken home but forgotten to check out to myself on the "unaccounted for" list.


If you missed the link earlier in the post, HERE is the link to the Inventory Freebie on TpT.

So those are my tips.  Is there anything I missed or any tips you think should be added? Share in the comments below.

Happy Inventorying!




1 comment:

  1. Jo, this is brilliant! Lots of great tips here. And I am SO glad that I'm not the only one who takes books home without checking them out. Oops!

    ReplyDelete