Why Items Are Taking Longer for Delivery

Have you looked at your library account lately and thought “It seems like the items I requested from another library have been In Transit forever”? It’s not just you. Items are taking a little longer to get from library to library these days. There are a few reasons for this.

First, the safety of our staff and patrons is our highest priority and we are doing all we can to keep everyone healthy. The biggest reason items take longer to get to patrons right now is because libraries in Allegheny County quarantine them for four days after they are returned and during delivery. Quarantining items is one of the best methods for disinfecting library materials and one of our best defenses against spreading COVID-19 through materials.

Quarantining items isn’t the only reason materials are taking so long to get here. When items get shipped between libraries, they go through a sorting center in Pittsburgh. There is a large machine at the center that automatically sorts items by the location of the library that requests them. The machine was old and broke down a lot. Fortunately, a new, more efficient machine was installed in November. During the installation phase, items were hand-sorted by library staff at the center. As you can imagine, it slowed the process down a lot. The good news is that the new system is now up and running. Hooray! The not so exciting news is that there is still quite a backlog of materials to process and it will take some time to get through it.

Although delivery times should improve slightly with the new sorter running, there will continue to be a delay in the time it takes materials to arrive at the library. We want to thank you for all of your patience with our service limitations at this time. We are doing our best to connect you with the materials you need! if you need your items sooner, you can always check our digital collections for fast access to thousands of books, audiobooks & movies – many of which are available with no wait!

If you have any questions about library services, you can contact us at 412-741-6920, by email at sewickley@einetwork.net, or via online chat.


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