Behind the Scenes: Library-By-Mail
July 03, 2012
Have you heard that MCPL provides materials through the mail to patrons who are physically unable to go the Library? This service, known as Library-by-Mail, is a great way to make sure that we're able to provide access to all our customers. But who processes these requests and maintains the LBM accounts? That would be Carma Anderson, the effervescent woman in charge of managing everyone signed up for the service. Carma spends all day checking materials in and out, signing up new patrons, taking calls, placing holds, and making sure LBM patrons receive just what they’re looking for, and she does it all with her warm smile and trademark laugh. In a way, Carma is like a mini-branch in and of herself! Given that I'm way too curious for my own good, I asked if she would give us an insider's view of this awesome service and she cheerfully obliged.
How long has the LBM program been around and how has it changed from the beginning?
LBM was established in 2006. When the program began, LBM sent out one book (and it was hand delivered!), and now we have 300+ patrons and send out 4-6 totes and 40-60 green bags of material per day.
What is the most interesting thing you’ve received back in a bag?
I've received poems, cards, funny letters, artwork, hand-crocheted ornaments, candy, and the fascinating life history of one of my patrons written through a series of letters.
What is your favorite thing about LBM?
The people! Everyone has such different and interesting stories. There is so much appreciation for the service, it’s wonderful.
What are the biggest misconceptions about the program?
One of the biggest misconceptions is that we are an actual branch with a collection and that we have titles sitting on a shelf. Everything we get in for patrons is something we placed on hold, so if it’s a popular title it can take a really long time to get here. Another big one is that anyone in the system can use our services, but you have to meet the qualifications.
Even though LBM is only for patrons within the MCPL system, have you ever received requests from other places around the United States?
Yes! Off the top of my head I remember getting calls from Illinois, Indiana, and California
If you’re interested in using this service, first check out our Library-By-Mail page, and then go ahead and give Carma a call. She’s sure to greet you warmly!
- Mariah H.
Information and Reader Services