At a point when the authority in which he worked, West Lothian Council, was promoting management which was more performance based, more measurable, more customer focused and less wasteful in its use of resources, it was clear to George that a new approach to stocking libraries was needed.
Combined with his own dissatisfaction with having to purchase new stock and plan stock movement with totally inadequate data, George set about designing a framework for stock improvement that was based around customer consultation.
With limited scope for large scale first hand consultation, proxy consultation based on the evidence from data held within West Lothian’s own Library Management System (LMS) emerged as the perfect contender as the central consultation information source.
A comprehensive toolset was then developed, and was further refined following George’s work for the Bertelsmann Foundation’s International Network of Public Libraries in 1998, which saw him join forces with three library services in England – namely Essex, Westminster and Shropshire – to test whether EBSM could be used in different sized libraries and also libraries using different LMSs.
George has continued to promote EBSM at a number of UK and international seminars, and today EBSM is recognised as a proven, highly practical methodology for improving library stock performance.