Suffolk Libraries Story

Creating a new revenue stream from old library stock

Suffolk Libraries works to reduce loneliness, isolation and unemployment in the county, while improving children’s literacy and wellbeing.  The charity has 44 libraries in Suffolk, and also hosts a number of seasonal pop-up libraries and events, as well as smaller libraries in housing developments and other community projects.   The charity provides a vital service for the communities it serves. In fact, every £1 spent on Suffolk Libraries groups and activities returns more than £8 of ‘social value’, saving the NHS more than £250,000 a year through combating social isolation and improving wellbeing.

Shopiago
Shopiago

The Challenge

In 2012, Suffolk Libraries moved out of county council control, and was established as an independent charity. It was one of the first library services in the country to do this, but it set an example, and several other library services in the UK have since followed suit. 
For the Suffolk Libraries team, this new charitable status provided them with more freedom to develop their offering and provide the services they felt would be most needed by the local community. It also meant that the team had to establish new, regular revenue streams.
‘Non-issuing’ books had previously been something of a challenge for the library teams - these are books that were out of date, in poor condition, or simply taken off the shelves to make room for new stock that would be borrowed more often. In addition, the role of libraries is changing, as members of the public spend more time using ebooks and doing online research. As a result, some libraries are gradually scaling back on physical book space to make way for much-needed community group space, whilst simultaneously investing more in online subscriptions and resources.
In addition, since Suffolk Libraries became a charity, its branches started receiving generous donations of books from the public, not all of which can be lent out. This all created a supply of books that the librarians didn’t want to just pulp or send to landfill. 
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I realised we could turn this excess stock into additional revenue, and avoid sending stock to landfill.

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Sanphra Willmott, Book Sales Manager, Suffolk Libraries

The Shopiago Trade-in Roll out

Suffolk Libraries’ Book Sales Manager Sanphra Willmott saw an opportunity. Having used Ziffit to sell her own books at home, Sanphra turned to Shopiago Trade-in to help. 
Shopiago Trade-in takes the pain out of online selling, by allowing users with surplus stock to scan items and receive a fair trade price per item. Stock is then couriered for free back to Shopiago, where it is rehomed, donated to good causes or recycled. 
Throughout the Shopiago Trade-in roll out at Suffolk Libraries, the Shopiago customer support team was on hand to answer any queries and help the library teams get used to the system. 
Shopiago
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We didn’t need any formal training as the platform is quite intuitive to use. The Shopiago team were on hand to offer support when we needed it, and provided helpful user guides which were easy to follow. Shopiago's developers listened to our feedback and were able to implement some of our suggestions - for example, the active basket feature means libraries can keep coming back to add items, and build the trade up over time.

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Sanphra Willmott, Book Sales Manager, Suffolk Libraries

Results

Overall the roll out was very smooth, and the Suffolk Libraries team could quickly see the benefits of using Shopiago Trade-in - in terms of clearing space, generating income and also ensuring that the books themselves were going to be rehomed as much as possible. 
It also meant that the library teams could gratefully accept donations, letting donors know that even if the books wouldn’t be out on the library shelves, they would still be making an important contribution to the charity.
From January - March 2022, Suffolk Libraries generated over £2,000 in revenue from Shopiago Trade-in, and the team has been able to clear a backlog of 4,000 non-issuing and donated books, which previously would have taken up space in their libraries. 
Using Shopiago Trade-in means that individual libraries can keep a running record of what they’ve scanned and how much money they’ve made, which is useful data when tracking revenue. 
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The library teams have been really happy to use Shopiago Trade-in. Some of our larger branches clear their stock every month, while the smaller libraries do so less often, but every penny we make goes back into the vital work we’re carrying out in the region.

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Sanphra Willmott, Book Sales Manager, Suffolk Libraries

Get in touch

If you'd like to find out how Shopiago Trade-in can help you, drop us an email at Trade-in@Shopiago.com and one of our friendly team will be happy to tell you more.