Saturday, 22 February 2014

Freedom of Information Request on Library stock


Dear Councillor Hands,

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request submitted to the Business Intelligence Unit on 13th January, regarding ‘The Closed Libraries books, CD’s, DVD’s, Games, Computers and records’.  Your request has been passed to me for response and you will find the related information supplied below.  Please note that seven libraries have been closed, not five, as you outline in your letter.

1 How much money was made on the sale of books, CDs, DVDs, Games, Computers and records for each library?

The library service does not offer Games, and the Computers belong to the Council’s ICT provider Avarto, who have collected all of the items from the libraries.

Ainsdale                     £343.50
Aintree                        £268.30
Birkdale                      £948.40
Churchtown                £207.60
College Road            £396.80
Litherland                   £330.50
Orrell                           £94.20
Total                            £2,589.30


2 What happened to all the music collects?

Birkdale is the only closed library that had a music CD collection.  A donation of specialist titles was made to Sefton Music Service.  The remaining titles were either transferred to Crosby Library’s collection or are being stored as a reserve.

3 What happened to all the computers?

No IT equipment was sold.  The People’s Network and staff computers were returned to arvato. 


4 How many and what proportion of books, CDs, DVDs, Games, Computers and records  were destroyed, sold or used elsewhere?

Once a library item is withdrawn from stock its record is automatically deleted by the library management system.  There is no residual record in place on the system to analyse ongoing activity.  The following breakdown is a cumulative summary taken from stock level reports, income figures, donation records, and records of items set aside for possible use by community library groups :-

56,981 items were retained within the service - 40%
An estimated 18,125 were sold via book sale to the public – 13%
An estimated 5,000 items were donated to 47 Sefton organisations – 3% [further details Q7]
28,674 items have been retained as possible donations to community library groups – 20%
The remaining items have been withdrawn by book collection companies for disposal or possible resale – 34,136 items, 24% [further details Q6]


5 Who were they sold to and what did they purchase?

The items sold were those made available for the general public to purchase.  The majority of items were books in relatively poor condition which were not deemed suitable for re-use by the library service.  Copies of older DVD and music CD titles were also sold in limited numbers.


6  If any of the above items were destroyed, who were they sent to?

The disposal of remaining titles can prove very expensive in terms of staff time, packaging materials, and transportation.  The costs of managing this process in-house exceed the minimal financial return that could be reasonably expected from ageing library books that have not been purchased via public book sale.  Therefore, book collection companies are widely used by public library services to attain value for money in the withdrawal of library stock.  These companies do not charge for their services and share the revenue of any ongoing sales achieved. 

With support from the Council’s Central Purchasing Unit, the library service undertook a comprehensive procurement exercise to commission services from the best of these companies.  Two companies have entered into a framework agreement; both have been used widely by other services within the North West Libraries Consortium.

A significant proportion of the items are likely to prove unsuitable for resale, and the companies would then dispose of these according to environmental standards. 
Income to date from book collection companies = £448.10


7  If any of the above items were used elsewhere, who were they used by and what did they acquire?

The majority of donations were made to local schools, who received books appropriate to the age of their students.  Given the diversity of donations from each library the precise number of items was not recorded.  A conservative estimate would be an average of 100 items to each recipient, leading to approximately 5,000 items being donated in total.  Some recipients of donated stock have received items from more than one library.  The breakdown by donating library is as follows :-

Ainsdale – 3 Primary Schools, 2 Secondary Schools, 1 College, 1 Community Centre, 1 Civic Society

Aintree – 2 Primary Schools, 1 Secondary School

Birkdale – 3 Primary Schools, 2 Secondary Schools, 1 Community Centre (Easy Read materials for adults), Craft and musical items to 2 local churches, 1 additional needs group, 1 care home

Churchtown – 1 Nursery, 4 Primary Schools, 1 College Visual Impairment group, Homestart service, 1 Children’s Centre

College Road – 2 Primary Schools, 3 Secondary Schools,

Litherland – 1 Nurseries, 1 Primary School, 2 Secondary Schools, 4 Community Centres, 1 College HMP Kennet, 

Orrell – 1 Primary School, 1 Secondary School, 1 Community Centre, HMP Kennet



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