Navigating the Mystery of Items Coming From Other Libraries

We hear you!  It can be very frustrating when you have requested an item and it is coming from another library and it’s taking forever!  It is a very complicated process that many folks have a hard time understanding.  We hope this explanation will give you a better understanding about why it takes so long for you to receive your item(s).

The main misconception is that someone here at the Cheshire library gets in their car and drives to another library to get the item.  What actually happens is the Connecticut State Library provides a service called deliverIT CT.  This is run by the State and paid for from the State’s budget.  At this time, libraries do not have to pay for this service.  They have 11 drivers/maintainers currently employed.  They go to 167 libraries daily, make 848 stops per week, serve 1,546,895 patrons, and move 15,000 items daily.

As you can imagine, this is a huge undertaking and coordinating it all is quite challenging for the State.  Here at the library, we cannot tell you what day or time of day we will get our delivery.  The delivery schedule is affected by a variety of factors such as vacations, illness, holidays, the weather, and the like.  Cheshire gets at least one delivery a week (although we have gone more than a week without any delivery on occasion).  When there is no delivery, there is no pick-up of materials going out.  The same is true for other libraries.  If they don’t have a delivery, their out-going items sit in bins waiting to go out.  We can have 15-25 bins waiting to be picked up here on a weekly basis.

When you see the term “in transit” on your account, that doesn’t mean the item is physically moving between libraries or that it will be in our next delivery.  It can sit in a bin at a library for many days (or weeks, in some cases).  Once the items leave a library, they need to be sorted before heading out to the various libraries.  What we have been experiencing here in Cheshire is that the average time to receive requested items is 2-4 weeks.  Some come in sooner, some later.   We’ll contact you when your item has arrived.

The Difference Between “Available” and “Ready for Pickup”
To also clarify, when you see the term “Available” on  your account, that means the item you requested is sitting on a shelf at one of the 30 libraries in our consortium.  If you see it is available in Cheshire, your best bet is to come in to get it or call the library to have staff place a hold on Cheshire’s copy.  If you place the hold from home, the computer software does not automatically select Cheshire.  Your account will say “Ready for pickup” when it is here in Cheshire on our Hold Shelf.

If the item you want is owned by Cheshire but currently checked out, it is quicker to wait for the Cheshire item instead of requesting it from another library.  You can call the library or come in person and we will be happy to place a hold specifically on a Cheshire item since this must be done by a staff member.

The State has instituted various guidelines to help reduce the volume of items being transported between libraries.  All libraries have been urged to comply with the established guidelines. (Please note, many libraries do not ship DVDs, CDs, or audiobooks – including Cheshire). The State has done an excellent job considering their resources and the volume.  Please know that they are doing everything they can to provide equal access to library resources for all Connecticut residents.

Another misconception is that staff can tell you what number you are in line for an  item, especially for a book by one of the most popular authors.  Unfortunately, our computer software does not have any way to determine where you are on the list.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of what it takes for your item to come from another library.  If you need an item for a specific date, you will need to plan ahead.  You always have the option of going to a specific library to pick up the item yourself.  Just call the library ahead of time and they will set the item aside for you.

4abc340cf5d893ff4bf6ebc17b29c221Always remember that if you need help locating an item, any of our staff will be happy to assist you.

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