NISO Recommended Practice on Physical Delivery of Library Resources Available for Public Comment

by | Jul 15, 2011 | 0 comments

NISO announces the availability of Physical Delivery of Library Resources (NISO RP-12-201x) for a public comment period ending on August 21, 2011. The physical delivery of library materials is an integral component of the library resource sharing process. Despite the ever-increasing availability of electronic journals, e-books, and other digital resources, the movement of physical items remains a major concern and a major cost for many libraries. In one state, borrowing of returnable items increased by 107.4% in six years. A recent study showed that the average academic library spends more than $6,800/year for delivery services, with some libraries paying as high as $60,000.

Physical Delivery of Library Resources provides recommendations for improving performance and reducing the cost of moving materials between by a library that owns an item and another library whose patron wants to use the item. Ranging from labeling and containers to automation and contracting with courier services, this Recommended Practice addresses both the lending and the borrowing library’s activities related to delivering and returning a physical item.

“While the Working Group focused on external delivery of items between separately administered libraries,” explains Valerie Horton, Executive Director, Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC) and co-chair of the Physical Delivery of Library Resources Working Group, “many of the recommendations also apply to delivery between branches of a single library system and consortial delivery within a shared system.”

“There are many innovative resource sharing and delivery practices in use today in libraries of all types,” states Diana Sachs-Silveira, President Tampa Bay Library Consortium and co-chair of the Working Group. “This Recommended Practice pulls together in one place the best of these practices while emphasizing various alternative methods that a library may choose to use depending on their specific requirements and constraints.”

“Libraries today are looking to resource sharing as one way to meet their reduced budgets,” states Todd Carpenter, NISO Managing Director. “These recommendations will further help libraries to participate in resource sharing using the most cost-effective methods for delivering the shared materials.”

The draft Recommended Practice and an online comment form are available at: All libraries involved in resource sharing, as well as delivery, sorting, courier and transportation service providers, are encouraged to review and comment on the document.

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