Figures show that over 25 million books have been recorded as missing from British libraries since 1996. For book advocates and those seeking educational support, these figures mean that there are now 50% fewer books available to borrow!
Unfortunately, due to the nature of library services and the storehouse style functionality of the spaces, they are very vulnerable to theft and the loss and damage of items. So much so that library theft has been an on-going issue for many years now, however, the extent of the problem has only been recently bought to light by figures released by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy.
The problems facing libraries is only heightened by budget cuts which have started to restrict the expenditure of continually replacing these items – resulting in some popular titles never making it back on the shelves. In the past, these items would be automatically replaced, however for some libraries this is no longer a plausible solution.
With the increasing importance of technology, unsurprisingly, it’s not only books that go missing from our nation’s libraries. AV, computer equipment and CDs/ DVDs also vanish and never return. Only earlier this year a man was arrested for stealing over £7000 worth of computers and projectors from Aberdeen University library. Although he was caught, the equipment was never found or returned.
In Suffolk, just under 10,000 items have gone missing from their public library spaces in the last 3 years with, CDs, DVD and computer games amongst the most stolen items. For staff, trying to prevent theft whilst keeping on top of their day-to-day jobs is an on-going problem, which can be incredibly frustrating when there is no time to perform other, more important library initiatives.
How can libraries take measures to prevent theft?
There are some traditional library measures that can assist with the prevention of library theft, including:
- An appointed library security officer
- Limited access points
- Cataloguing all materials
- Library rules/ guidelines displayed
- Theft action plans
- Library Fines
These methods will act as a theft deterrent and help staff to better manage the libraries resources however the reality is these methods are still very time consuming and will require a lot of resources to implement properly. Too many rules and restrictions can also create an intimidating atmosphere and take away the welcoming feel of a library and the ability to provide free, accessible information to all.
If you believe enhanced protection is required in your library, but you have a concern for aesthetics, consider investing in D-Tech’s secureIT™ p-Series security system and regain control of your libraries assets without taking away from the friendly culture of your library.
The attractive Plexiglas frame with stainless steel base uses advanced digital RFID technology to provide superior perimeter-based protection and alarm- handling capabilities. The gates act as an obvious deterrent whilst being stylish in design. Find out more about our security gates here.
Not only is replacing books and equipment a costly necessity, but it also takes up a lot of valuable time and resources. From the re-ordering process to labelling and finding a new, more secure storage area. Library staff need to take a considerable amount of time out their day to ensure their library is always stocked with the correct resources.
No matter how organised your library system is, most staff will agree that books and equipment going missing often turns a simple task of recommending a book to a customer into a long and frustrating book hunt.
How can libraries maximise efficacy and find missing items quickly?
- Dewey decimal system
- Regular inventory checks
- RFID Tags
- RFID Wand
D-Tech’s findIT™ p-Series is the most powerful RFID wand on the market today, giving unprecedented reading speeds. When searching for an item, the wand will alert the user with a visual and acoustic indicator. This will allow users to easily collect information from items on the shelves, complete an inventory check whilst searching for missing items – all with one pass! Find out more about out RFID technology here.
D-Tech International develops and supplies high-performance technology products and services for customers around the globe seeking a security/staffing/infrastructure solution to maximise efficiency and minimise losses. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about our library services.