In Mukhanyo’s five libraries with roughly around 30 000 titles, the first collection audit was completed during the winter of 2021. Wasn’t it an adventure! And the year 2022 promises to be even more exciting.
Tienie de Klerk, Mukhanyo’s librarian, reports that inventory control – or, as it is called at the Mukhanyo libraries, “collection audit” – is a common procedure within the general library context. It might happen wholly, or in part, to a library’s collection when the status of the collection is placed under the magnifying glass. The aim is mainly replacement, or deselection, of resources.
However, since the EMC library management system was just implemented, the collection audit provided an opportunity to align the resources on the shelves with the records in the system. According to Tienie, a simultaneous check on the system’s data quality was further possible. Other benefits include the re-arrangement of resources on the shelves, calculating the number of stacks and book-ends needed for collection expansion, and a general cleaning-up of resources and shelves.
Eventually, the schedule to count all the books was set for five days which were “without disturbance filled with excitement and anxiety”. Not only was the new system put to the test, but a strict procedural deadline was set. Complicating the 2021-plan-of-action were a coronavirus case, installing EMC and the relevant bar code scanners in-time, timeous training to take place on the unfamiliar system and collection audit procedure, unrest and resignations . . .
Fortunately, at the main campus in KwaMhlanga, “even the Internet was working very fast”. Staff shortages were counter-acted by student assistance. From the Durban centre, it was reported that participating in a collection audit “is by far the best way to get to know the shelves and their content and the arrangement of the whole library”. And, observed at Rustenburg, “we have experienced scanning every single book that helped us to know how many books we have and how many books are missing, also how many resources are no longer useful on our shelves”.
The focused and dedicated library team “had a wonderful experience of fulfilling and worthwhile work”. This first - and certainly memorable - audit was a success and a lot of lessons were learnt, summarised Lewis from the Johannesburg campus. Several characteristics of Mukhanyo’s collection of information resources were revealed, and issues to address before the next collection audit – coming closer now - were identified.
Having a peek at the accompanying pictures, Tienie applauds the library team - Mamusa, Yvette, Annah, Anneke, Lewis and their helpers - for their effort. A big THANK YOU is also expressed towards all Mukhanyo’s managers and staff – especially ICT staff - supporting the team during its first collection audit adventure!