Subject Specialisation Scheme
This scheme was set up in 1959 with the aim of increasing the self-sufficiency of the South West region in English-language non-fiction materials.
Under the scheme, each local authority library has been allocated subject areas by Dewey number in which to specialise. Ideally, each library should look up its subject areas in the current edition of the British National Bibliography and buy all the new titles it finds there. For example, Gloucestershire Libraries & Information try to buy every British book published on the subjects of glass technology (666.2) and map reading (912-912.09), amongst others.
The majority of the subjects in the Dewey system have been allocated in this way. In theory, therefore, most of the non-fiction books listed in a recent edition of the British National Bibliography ought to be held somewhere in the region, and through inter-library loans, be available for anyone in the region to read.
Plymouth Music Scheme
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It is no exaggeration to say that the variety of live music we enjoy would be significantly diminished were it not for libraries. For a small fee, orchestras, choirs and other music groups are able to hire complete performance sets from their local library, and thereby save themselves the small fortune it would cost to buy them.
Interlibrary lending of performance sets is particularly important, as no library can hope to buy a set of every piece a group might like to perform. For smaller libraries, even a basic collection can be too great an expense. This is where the Plymouth Music Scheme comes in.
Public library authorities who do not have access to a maintained, basic music collection pay an extra contribution to SWRLS every year to use the collections of the other members. SWRLS pays this money and some of its own to Plymouth Library Service to spend on performance sets, and Plymouth makes its sets are available for lending to other libraries as well as its own borrowers. This scheme ensures that all groups in the region have access to a wide selection of pieces to perform.
As part of the scheme, a union catalogue of sheet music in the region's libraries is maintained. Copies of this catalogue are held by most public library authorities and also centrally at the Regional Office. Holdings of orchestral and vocal sets are also loaded on to the online database Encore! [about Encore!]
The region's music librarians meet together annually review the music service and to develop co-operation within and outside the region.