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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

Delivery Service to Branches

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, March 20, 2011

The closure of State Route 7 due to the mud slide caused the library’s delivery service to be suspended one day last week, so we had deliveries to the four branch libraries in the southern part of the county delivered to the Main Library.


Ohio’s public libraries have a contract delivery service arranged by the State Library of Ohio, to allow library materials to be moved around the state as the computer networks manage requests from library users.


The lack of delivery service for only one day causes the system to “back up,” so I took deliveries to Brilliant, Tiltonsville, Dillonvale, and Adena a week ago Saturday to keep things moving in the system.


It provided me the opportunity to visit the branches and see things in operation.


Staff had loaded the library van, and I must admit surprise to find it completely full of shipping bags and boxes, and even a fiberglass cart of materials.


My first stop was at the Brilliant Branch, which is not open on Saturdays.  There were three fiberglass bags of materials, which I piled by the desk.


I was glad to find it okay to “drag” the huge bags, as it doesn’t take many books to make the bag heavy.


I decided to sort through the things leaving Brilliant to see if there were bags that I could take to other locations, which there were.


My second stop was at the Tiltonsville Branch, which had just opened at 11 am.  I had to wait for the staff to answer the delivery entrance as they were all busy with customers.


The library was full of people of all ages.  The fiberglass cart in the back of the van had the delivery for Tiltonsville, and it was difficult to find a place to unload it. 


I gathered up bags of things coming back to the Main Library and the Schiappa Branch to reduce their number of departing items on Monday.


My third stop was at the Dillonvale Branch, which also opens at 11 am on Saturday.  I enjoyed the warm sunny day, but then realized that I should not be a delivery driver, because after two stops my van load was a mess.


The Dillonvale staff kept inquiring, “Is that all?” to which I would respond, “Maybe.”  I re-sorted everything in the van before heading for Adena.


I chatted with two customers departing the library with armloads of books.  The Dillonvale Library is convenient to the post office and a new retail store, and is another busy location.


The Adena Branch is also closed on Saturday, but I had two large bags for that location.


I had to return to Dillonvale to deliver an item that I had missed before returning to the Schiappa Building to deliver things from all of these branches,


One o’clock on a Saturday afternoon found the Schiappa Branch to have people three deep at the desk being served.  I sorted their items and stacked things for check in and helped staff with odds and ends to get things cleared up behind the scenes.


They had two bags of materials to deliver to the Main Library, so I returned to home base.


I put the van back in the garage and began sorting my return delivery.


Oops, a book for Adena had dropped out of an open bag and was under the seat.  Four books for the Toronto Branch were still in the van, and I didn’t even go there, so they were put in delivery for Toronto the following Monday.


I consolidated things, and took two bags upstairs at the Main Library to the circulation desk, where the staff pleasantly greeted me, but likely thought “Gee, we don’t need any more today!”


In general, I was impressed with how nice our libraries look inside, and how well-used they were on a Saturday.  Deferred maintenance is starting to show on the exteriors.


How many non-emergency government agencies are even open on Saturdays?


I also had to think about our computer system that handles 400,000 items moving from place to place to maximize our user’s information needs.


Things have come a long way from the old card files and red request clips.