Following is a brief description of the prevalent methods of stock taking.
Stock Verification by Accession Numbers: The accession numbers of the books from the shelves are read by one person and another person checks and tick marks the corresponding accession number in the register. When all the books in the library and out in circulation are checked in this manner, the unmarked accession numbers give us a list of lost books.
This method is cumbersome and time consuming as the books on the shelves are arranged by class numbers. The use of accession register, which is a very important record also spoils. A modified method is to prepare and use a duplicate accession register. But then the task of preparing another duplicate accession register is stupenduous and also involves unnecessary wastage of time, energy and money.
Another simplified variant of this method is to prepare slips with only the accession numbers and use these slips for stock taking. Alternatively a register bearing only serial numbers in columns in a page may be used. Numbers may be crossed out for books on the shelf. However both the methods may lead to malpractices since bibliographical detail cannot be verified in either of the two. However, this method may lead to malpractices; for example, a lost book may be replaced by another cheap book with the same accession number, since bibliographical details are not provided.
Numerical Counting Method: This is another simple method, wherein all the books on the shelves and the books out on loan are counted and tallied with the total number of books as per records. The comparison indicates the less of books in terms of only numbers. However, it does not reveal the particulars of the books and hence it serves only a limited purpose of stock verification, however, this method gives a rough idea of the extent of loss.
Stock Verification by Shelf List Method: Maintenance of an up-to-date and accurate, shelf list is a pre-condition for this method of stock taking. Shelf list on cards is very flexible and facilitates speedy stock verification. The cards are taken to the stack and call number of each book on the shelf is read' by one person and another person either ticks it or takes out and keeps it in-.another tray. Otherwise the cards of missing books' can be removed and kept it in another tray. Otherwise the cards of missing books can be removed and kept separately. This is an easy, simple and quick method. The trays containing the shelf register cards can be distributed among a number of persons and simultaneous stock verification of various sections of the stack is possible. Though time-consuming, this is a very efficient method of stock taking, and stock verification is also achieved in this method.