Taking Stock





what is a stocktake?

A stocktake is a legal requirement that ensures accountability for the money that has been spent throughout the year. Including staff salaries, resources, subscriptions, and other necessities this can amount to over $120 000 per year. It enables the collection to be formally and throughly evaluated regularly ensuring that it contines to meet the needs, interests and abilities of its users through the provision of the most relevant resources. 

Making stocktake a critical event in the management of the library creates a greater sense of responsibility towards the resources so all users benefit. It enables everyone to understand that the word borrow implies return and that a library offers an opportunity for sharing things that they would not normally be able to access. It means that all resources are evaluated for accuracy, currency, appearance and cleanliness and that they are where they should be on the shelves. Where appropriate, online links are checked to make sure they are still live, ebooks are still available and susbcription services still accessible.

It is usually done at the end of each academic year as part of the collection evaluation process, at a time when there is less demand for resources and most of the collection is available to the teacher-librarian to undertake the procedures. However, it can be done at any time and spread over the timeframe set by your educational authority.

Through their professional training, the teacher-librarian is the staff member who is best qualified to make judgements about the collection according to the needs of the staff, students, curriculum delivery and development and condition of the resource. Therefore it requires the teacher-librarian to see the resources so that appropriate assessments can be made.

Making stocktake a critical event in the management of the library creates a greater sense of responsibility towards the resources so all users benefit. It enables everyone to understand that the word borrow implies return and that a library offers an opportunity for sharing things that they would not normally be able to access.

Stocktake is more than scanning books and ensuring they are accounted for and on the right place on the shelf. It requires teacher librarians to demonstrate their three key roles of curriculum leader, information services manager and information specialist.

  • as curriculum leader, the teacher librarian must ensure that resources support the school curriculum and beyond and span the needs, interests and abilities of the collection’s users 
  • as information specialist, the teacher librarian must ensure that the resources continue to meet the criteria of the Collection Development policy including accuracy, authority, currency, objectivity and relevance
  • as information services manager, the teacher librarian must ensure that access to all resources is maintained through accurate and thorough records


why do a stocktake?

Stocktake allows the teacher librarian to

  • formally ensure that the physical resources identified in the library’s accession register and OPAC are available for circulation, are in good repair and in their correct location
  • formally ensure that the virtual resources identified in the library’s management system and OPAC are available for circulation and the content and any associated advertising or embedded links remains appropriate for the collection’s users
  • ensure that the collection continues to meet the needs of its users, reflecting their interests and abilities and supporting the beliefs and values of the school’s community
  • ensure that the current collection, both physical and virtual, continues to underpin the curriculum and proposed changes
  • ensure that the collection remains copyright compliant
  • track purchases, losses and disposals and ensure records reflect these
  • identify those resources whose subscriptions are due for renewal and assess the value of doing so according to the selection criteria of the Collection Policy, usage and budget constraints
  • identify those virtaul resources who subscriptions are due for renewal, assess the value of doing so in accordance with  Collection Policy criteria and seek freely available alternatives through the National Digital Learning Zresources Netowrk, open education resources and similar avenues
  • measure the collection (numbers, age and resource:student ratio) against the benchmarks identified by the Australian School Library Association
  • examine each resource and determine its future based on age, relevance, currency and condition, which may include repair, replacement, disposal, or cleaning, to ensure that attractive, up-to-date resources are available to everyone
  • decide whether a resource that is to be disposed needs to be replaced or substituted based on the teacher librarian’s knowledge of the whole curriculum and what is available on the market, and whether such replacement should be a physical or virtual resource
  • ensure that the resources in a particular curriculum area cover a variety of formats and reading levels so that the collection is accessible to all by catering for a range of learning needs and styles
  • map the collection to flag areas for development in order to fill identified needs to support future curriculum delivery and current student needs
  • identify and prioritise future purchases, prepare a budget based on evidence of needs and begin sourcing those required immediately
  • identify areas that can be complemented with online and digital resources and design and deliver access to these
  • identify areas for expansion because of their popularity, including buying a wider range of resources on the topic; purchasing extra copies of a popular resource; or ensuring that all titles in a particular series are available so equity of access is maintained
  • ensure that all resources will be in their correct places for the beginning of the new school year so that staff and students can locate them easily
  • identify and fix anomalies in cataloguing, incomplete records or typos on spine labels
  • augment catalogue records with extra information where appropriate
  • use their specialist knowledge to make decisions about the location of resources based on the teacher librarian’s knowledge of the library’s users
  • identify areas that need new signage and create this, or repair old signs so that the collection is well signposted to enable independent and easy access
  •  re-arrange the shelves or change the layout to minimise overcrowding and book damage, and consider better ways of presentation to encourage circulation
  • generate accurate reports based on actual data and assess the effectiveness of borrowing procedures, security measures and other circulation processes
  • reconcile the state of the current collection with the goals and purpose stated in the collection development policy
  • review the collection and refresh memories of specific items so relevant suggestions can be made to users at an appropriate time
  • reflect on the services that are provided and seek ways these can be improved
  • ensure items flagged as overdue are not on the shelves so that we can send out accounts for replacement with confidence
  • set goals to use administration time effectively including promotion, weeding, reorganising, signage and curriculum support
  • satisfy a professional need to have accurate management records, an attractive environment and be able to offer the level of service expected through a well-managed collection
  • exchange our teaching hat for our librarian’s one and demonstrate why we have graduate degrees in two disciplines.


deselection of resources

De-selection of resources –the systematic and deliberate removal of items from the collection— is undertaken at this time in accordance with the Collection Development policy.

In summary, de-selection will be considered for items which

  • are dirty or damaged beyond repair
  • are in a format no longer supported by available hardware
  • have information which is inaccurate, out-of-date, biased, racist, sexist or misleading
  • contain racial, sexual or cultural stereotyping and are not required for the teaching of these concepts
  • are unappealing in appearance or format
  • are inappropriate or irrelevant to the needs, abilities and interests of the library’s users
  • have significantly declined in circulation and are unlikely to be required in the future
  • have been superseded by newer editions
  • are unused duplicate copies
  • have altered terms and conditions of use which are unacceptable
  • breach copyright regulations
  • no longer meet the requirements and criteria of the collection development policy

For a guide to deselecting items according to age, refer to Deselection in the Collection Management Policy

Consideration should be given to keeping

  • Classics, award winners
  • Local History
  • Annuals & School Publications
  • Titles on current reading lists
  • Out of print titles that are still useful
  • Biographical Sources
  • Resources which might be of historical interest or comparison at a later time


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2 thoughts on “Taking Stock

  1. THANK YOU!!!!!! I just printed this for reference and documentation to support my yearly inventory and weeding.

  2. Thank you Barbara for sharing your amazing resources with us. I often refer to your site for assistance when writing policies, making decisions etc. Thanks again

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