Borrowing books from other libraries is taking much longer in recent months. The average time many libraries are reporting is 3-4 weeks between requesting a book and receiving it. Why so long, you ask? There are a few reasons.
First, many libraries are working under Covid-19 safety precautions, which means they may have reduced and/or remote staff, leaving fewer people to fill requests. In addition, many libraries are still closed, and librarians are working from home, which makes locating and sending a physical book an extra challenge.
Second, delivery methods for books are also slowing down the process. The United States Postal System is still experiencing significant delivery delays and backlogs. Many libraries send their books to other libraries via USPS.
A third issue is fewer libraries buying print books. As eBooks have become more popular and more libraries have remote users, print books are being replaced with eBooks. This is a great option for the users of individual libraries, but it makes lending to other libraries almost impossible. Most eBook publishers have licensing restrictions that prevent those books from being lent to other libraries.
So, what can we do to work around these challenges? How do we get print books to people who need them? Here are a few things to consider:
Sladen Document Services is doing our best to get the items our users need. We are carefully selecting which libraries we request from to try to make the process as fast as possible. If you have any questions about requesting a book, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org