The 'Vision and Strategy for Hampshire Library & Information Service, 2009-2014’ outlines our key objective which is to be,
“A creative service at the heart of Hampshire communities which prides itself on meeting their evolving needs for reading, information, learning and enjoyment.”
Our aim is to ensure that the stock in Hampshire’s Libraries and Discovery Centres is shaped by, and meets, the needs of the local community. To this end, each service point is provided with a targeted range of materials suited to local needs, but reflecting the relative size of the branch, together with local levels and patterns of use. The stock is selected to meet the reasonable information, educational, recreational and cultural needs of all members of that community regardless of age, gender, race, class, ability, ethnic origin, language, culture, religion or sexual orientation. This strong customer focus is embodied by what we call ‘The Hampshire Way’.
The range of material offered will include printed books, (including large print and audio formats), magazines, audio-visual media, e-books and e-resources.
We will strive to ensure that the stock is well presented, well managed and in good physical condition.
Hampshire's selection procedures are based on the following principles:
We actively seek to collect feedback about our stock from the branch staff, customers and non-customers. Suggestions, comments, requests, enquiries and reservations are all used to inform the stock selection process. Suggestions can be sent by letter, or online using the Suggest a Purchase form. Complaints are also closely monitored as they are a useful way to pick up and resolve any problems with service delivery, including stock issues.
We welcome donations of stock on the understanding that items become the property of the Library Service. Donations are dealt with locally by the branch which receives them. Donated items will be placed in an appropriate branch, but may subsequently be circulated to other locations, sent to the Store, or withdrawn and sold. Donations not required for library use may be offered for sale, (all proceeds go to the Library Service). Similar principles apply if customers donate money to purchase stock.
Some published material may cause offence to some customers because of its religious, political or moral line, or because of the inclusion of alternative or controversial knowledge. Novels may include text of an explicitly sexual and/or violent nature, may contain bad language, or contents deliberately designed to shock. All material which is legally available in the UK may legitimately be considered for purchase. Stock is selected for the positive reason that it is of interest to, or useful to, some members of the public, rather than rejected for the negative reason that it may cause offence and result in complaints. However, we do not knowingly provide material that will provide practical information to potential terrorists, or that is intended to stir up racial hatred.
Every effort is made to maximise access to stock:
The Library Service offers access to its stock via a range of static Libraries and Discovery Centres, Mobiles, the School Library Service and via our website.
The layout of each service point is designed to be welcoming. Where possible we try to ensure that we provide a range of facilities including areas to browse our stock, children’s libraries, quiet areas for study, comfortable seating where customers can rest or read and IT zones where customers can access the internet free of charge. Some service points also house other facilities such as cafes, learning centres, museums or art exhibitions, or we may share the site with community centres and other organisations. Where possible, we try to ensure that we make the best possible use of all the available space, designing flexibility into our buildings so that we can facilitate a wide range of community activities and events, such as story-time, rhyme-time, reading groups, local history groups, courses etc.
When considering the way the stock is presented we aim to ensure that:
Hampshire actively seeks to promote reading and reader development:
Stock is retained on the branch shelves until it falls out of regular use, becomes out of date, is replaced by a newer edition, or becomes dirty or tatty. At this point stock is withdrawn from use and sold or ‘recycled’. All proceeds go to the Library Service.
The last copy of each title is checked by the Stock Team, and if it is considered that the item is still of use, it may be retained in the ‘last copy’ collection at the Store. The Store focuses on adult lending books and audio-books. Children’s out of print titles are considered for inclusion in the Children’s ’out of print’ collection. Some of the titles held in these Stores date back to the nineteenth century; most are available for loan. These collections contribute to the depth and breadth of Hampshire’s stock. Both collections are actively managed to ensure that they remain live, working collections.
Library Managers aim to be aware of how their service points are performing not just in terms of issues and visits but also in terms of stock performance. Measuring the proportion of stock by format and genre, and understanding how the different types of stock are issuing, enables management to understand patterns of use. This can then be reviewed within each branch, and comparatively between branches. This information assists stock management and planning, especially when projects such as self issue or refurbishments take place.