Webinar: Floating Collections - Is It Worth It?

During the webinar, Catherine Leonard and Karen Harbers discussed the various advantages and problems in floating collections. Below find the questions asked during the webinar with the replies from Auckland Libraries and Lyngsoe Systems.

Question & answer

While the floating system is time consuming, is it more so than the old system of sending every item "home" all the time?

Auckland Libraries: Definitely not. If we didn’t float each item would need a transit slip inserted, packed, and moved to the sorting centre, then checked in on return to it’s ‘home’. Not only would this take more staff time, it is unavailable to customers for longer, and the volume of material moving about each day would overwhelm us.

Question & answer

How do you ensure the possibility of an item matching with an exhibition?

Lyngsoe Systems: Using IMMS™, Library staff organize the exhibition by loading a list of possible candidates for the exhibition. These lists are most often generated from searches exported from the ILS and can contain any number of items/titles which will then fill up the display as space becomes available.

Question & answer

Great talk! Could you please give me an example of reporting tools used?

Auckland Libraries: Auckland Libraries uses a suite of products from Innovative Interfaces: Sierra (ILS) and Decision Centre (reporting tool), so a lot of ability to create reports to see supply, demand, usage, pooling, drought, weeding etc. The most common parameters are age and use; and to inform what should be withdrawn or floated elsewhere. Staff have the ability to access the reports themselves.

Decision Center is fairly easy to use, but, as mentioned, the view is very one-dimensional. Doesn’t provide context of the community profiles of the different demographics and profiles of the locations in which our libraries are located.

We have also created an internal data warehouse which combines our physical and e-collections and are building a number of new reports to help library staff understand the full picture of our collections and to support their work in specific areas.

Question & answer

I am on the books removal side. I would like to know what are libraries doing with discards and not being able to have as many book sales to previous years?

Auckland Libraries: The bulk of our withdrawn material has served its time and looks tired or outdated – these are recycled (i.e. pulped). We have not done a big book sale for several years but some libraries keep small sale trolleys all the time. Some libraries have relationships with community groups or organisations (e.g. Playcentres) who appreciate specific ranges of material. We also work with a keen group of volunteers who support libraries in the Pacific Islands by sending boxes of books there.

Question & answer

You could conceivably have a kiosk with a card scanner to show the hold shelf location?

Lyngsoe Systems: Yes, Any kind of self-service kiosk can work.

Question & answer

Better value for money? How do you calculate that?

Auckland Libraries: Our collection works harder (higher number of issues/item) when they float as they are browsed and used by a greater number of people. Floating supports us to maintain overall breadth and depth alongside purchasing fewer copies of less popular material. We know that we are purchasing fewer copies of titles to support the whole region than the individual systems were purchasing pre-amalgamation and pre-floating.

Lyngsoe Systems: The Auckland figures are mirrored by the Danish experience, the Aarhus libraries have almost halved the number of copies per the title of non-bestsellers while maintaining the circulation. Learn more.

Question & answer

Aside from flags at an rfid check out desk or, a circulation desk staffed by a person, is there any way that a browser in holds shelving area can be prevented from browsing and borrowing what is not really there for their use?

Lyngsoe Systems: The ILS will not allow an item on hold to one person to be checked out by another. Same as when paper hold slips are used.

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