Strategic Plan in Action: Expansive ideas in delivery of library materials

by Tim Auman, Architecture and Landscape Architecture Library, Strategic Action Plan Blogging Team

In keeping with the Libraries’ Strategic Plan value of “equity of access” the Materials Delivery Program Expansion Action Item Team was created in March 2016 and charged to “investigate the expansion of the delivery of Library materials.” The team, consisting of Barbara Coopey (chair), Amy Deuink, Jackie Dillon-Fast, Chris Holobar and Verne Neff considered several ideas using the following criteria to prioritize their recommendations:

  • target constituency
  • projected impact of the service
  • alignment with the Libraries Strategic Plan
  • feasibility and ease of offering or expanding the service

The resulting seven recommendations were then passed off to the appropriate stakeholders in order to come up with possible implementation plans. The following recommendations are in the final planning stages and are scheduled to be implemented sometime this calendar year.

Office Delivery for Graduate Students at University Park
Expanding the Office Delivery program to University Park graduate students is one of the larger endeavors proposed by the Action Team. This is a service that graduate students have requested, and with over 6,000 active University Park graduate student borrowers, Barbara Coopey anticipates that it will double the number of items processed for office delivery. Due to its anticipated popularity, a soft launch is planned to help estimate the increased workload on ILL, Receiving Room and Campus Mail staff and resources.

Home Delivery of PSUL Materials for Students, Faculty and Staff with Temporary Impairments
While the number of patrons needing this service is small, the benefit to those patrons is quite large. Since this service is already being provided informally, creating a formal procedure will be relatively simple. The Libraries’ Accessibility Committee is being consulted and the Libraries will formally roll out the service after details are finalized.

Reducing Turnaround Time for Delivery of Holds to all PSUL Locations
Due to concerns about turnaround time for delivery of holds expressed by campus librarians, an analysis of current holds processes is underway that will investigate average turnaround time, possible process improvements, and ways to expedite or improve delivery. The holds group will be presenting their report at the April Access Services Council meeting.

Delivery and Pickup of PSUL Materials to Schlow Centre Region Library (University Park)
In what can only be attributed to Town & Gown kismet, University Park and Schlow Centre Region Library staff began meeting to discuss possible collaborative efforts to expand access to and delivery of library material between the two libraries. While the Action Team was exploring ways of expanding delivery options to our patrons, the staff at Schlow were looking at ways to decrease their ILL shipping costs. A phone call and a few meetings later and the two ideas are quickly merging into a plan. The key to this collaboration has been the willingness of the Receiving Room to add a delivery/pickup for Schlow Library three times a week. This effort will begin by providing patrons the option of returning Schlow materials at the Pattee Commons Desk as well as patrons returning Penn State material to Schlow, and we hope to partner with Schlow on other initiatives in the future.

Looking to the future, the Materials Delivery Program Expansion Action Item Team has made additional recommendations that are still being explored:

  • office delivery to faculty and staff at the Commonwealth Campuses
  • self-service pickup of library materials
  • delivery and pickup of PSUL materials to the Village at Penn State (University Park)

Keep an eye on your inbox for further details.