£160,000 library items not returned
Almost £160,000 worth of library books and other items of stock have not been returned, it has been revealed.
More than 55,000 items, including DVDs, were borrowed by library members and not returned, Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister Caral Ni Chuilin added.
The missing material was noticed after library staff carried out the first physical counts for several years. The information was disclosed in an Assembly written answer to Ulster Unionist North Antrim MLA Robin Swann, and he said recent restructuring of the service meant the missing books should have been accounted for sooner.
"It seems to me that this has been an ongoing thing and they seem to have not kept a proper count," he said.
"There is an opportunity to re-evaluate and ensure they carry out adequate stock checks. They should be a lot more forceful in making sure they get their stock back in."
The total amount of stores losses for 2009/10 was approximately £287,000, comprising £159,797 for non-returned stock items, £99,000 for stock-taking discrepancies, £26,000 for vandalism and £2,000 for vehicle accidents
The minister said: "In order to reduce the non-return of stock items fines are imposed on members holding overdue books. Three reminders are issued to members seeking the return of overdue books. Once overdue fines amount to £10, adult members are banned from further borrowing for a period of two years."
A total of 40,700 items of library stock (valued at £98,988) were identified as missing while carrying out physical stock counts in a number of libraries.
The minister added: "The education and library boards had not carried out these physical counts for several years and therefore these discrepancies will have arisen over this period of time, although they were all accounted for in the 2009-10 report and accounts.
"Libraries NI is implementing a rolling programme of annual physical stock counts to ensure a more prompt identification of discrepancies."