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Improving the Delivery of Books


Did you know that The New York Public Library now has an easy new interface that allows you to order offsite Library materials from anywhere? You can also request that a portion of your materials be scanned and delivered to you electronically.

At a recent town hall meeting, CUNY historian David Nasaw said that where NYPL stores its books is not the issue as long as we can deliver them within 24 hours. ”They could be on the moon for all I care,” he remarked.
I couldn’t agree more. As the NYPL staff member in charge of ensuring that books and other materials are delivered from our storage facility in New Jersey to the Library’s four research centers, I certainly know there have been challenges in recent years with timely delivery. Currently, 90 percent of materials requested each weekday are delivered within 24 hours. But we’re taking a number of steps to make that 100 percent.
First of all, we have added a sixth delivery day. We now deliver on Saturdays to each of the research centers, provided requests are made before 2:30 p.m. on Friday. And we’re planning a second midday delivery during the week.
The new online ordering process, which began on May 10, 2012, has been a huge step forward. It allows people to make up to 15 requests per day without having to come to the Library. Here’s how it works:
1.   Go to the Library’s “classic” catalog at
2.   Search for “Proust and Venice” by Peter Collier.
I happen to use this book as an example because it’s stored off-site. Scroll down a bit and you’ll see a grey button labeled “Request from Off-Site Storage”. This button takes you to an order form that also includes the option to make an electronic delivery request. This fantastic service allows you to receive up to 50 pages of your requested materials, for free of course, delivered to your email address within 24 hours on weekdays.
I also want to say that I and my staff, including a lot of back-office folks the public never sees, are very proud to be serving Library users, and we are well aware that we are delivering crucial materials into the hands of some of the world’s most renowned researchers. Every day, we are thinking, talking and actively planning how we can improve our delivery service. 
Stay tuned for future updates.


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