Earlier this year, libraries across Kansas collaborated on the development of a new interlibrary courier delivery service, replacing the use of the US Postal Service to exchange and loan books between libraries.
In July, the Kansas Library Express kicked off its convenient and cost-effective service with more than 200 libraries of all sizes participating throughout the state. Now, with just about two months of service history, the results are outstanding.
Carolyn Little, Courier Services Coordinator, shared the first month’s statistics. “In just one month there have been 32,000 items sent – an average of 215 per library, based on reports from 150 libraries.” She added, “some of the smaller libraries have already sent as many items in this month as they sent in all of 2008.”
Jim Minges, Northeast Kansas Library System Director, chaired the task force charged with researching the implementation of a courier service for Kansas libraries. “We were encouraged when we first surveyed and found 270 libraries expressed interest in participating,” he explained.
The average cost of delivery per item by courier for July was approximately $1. Use of the postal system would cost $2 or more per item, representing a 50 percent savings. Minges noted that July is generally a slow month for libraries, so he expects usage and savings to increase.
For many years, libraries across Kansas have shared items in their various collections; exchanging them most often by US Postal Service. The new courier service, organized and managed by the Northeast Kansas Library System (NEKLS), is contracting the actual delivery service from Henry Industries Courier Networks, Kansas City. The objective of the service is to provide next day delivery from border to border.
Comments like this one are common: “I forgot to mention how much I like the courier service. It is great. In the past I’ve had to drive to the post office daily and mail my packages, so this is heaven for me.” And, “the best deal is I do not have to carry that load of books to my vehicle, into the post office, pay postage, and carry another load out, and back into the library.”
Kansas Library Express is funded by fees to the participating libraries, contributions from the seven regional library systems of cooperating libraries, and with assistance from a federal grant through the State Library of Kansas. Delivery days and times are established for participating libraries based upon their service request and the courier company’s routing requirements. Libraries can choose delivery options of either 3 or 5 days per week.
Participating libraries and other information can be reviewed online at http://kslibexpress.mykansaslibrary.org/.