In November of 2019, the State of Iowa started being able to offer a new service to the public libraries in Iowa called Iowa Shares. This service provides a driver to stop at each public library in Iowa once a week to pick up books or other library materials to be checked out at other libraries and drop off any requests that our library has made for materials from other libraries or materials being returned to us.
Being a small rural library, we were only able to send out books once a week prior to this service, and it required a librarian to take the books to a different town to send the books through the post office. This service has been amazing for small libraries like ours!
Previously, we needed to collect $3 for each book or other library material that we requested from another library to cover the cost of shipping the book back. With this new service, we no longer need to charge a fee to offset those costs if we can get the materials from a public library. This has helped our budget because we no longer need to send as many things through the mail.
This has also increased the amount of materials that patrons have been requesting from other libraries. In fiscal year 2020 we requested less than 10 books from other libraries all year. in fiscal year 2021 that number increased to 30 books.
This program has been a win-win-win so far! It saves our library money, it saves the librarian the time of having to take books to Jefferson to be mailed out, it increases our check-outs for our materials to other libraries and for other library material being checked out here, and it saves the patrons money if they want to request a book as well!
There have been a few hiccups getting this program started, mostly with trying to get all the logistics of getting to every public library in Iowa every week! The weather sometimes offers some setbacks for us, but Iowa weather doesn't always go along with all of our plans!
If you are looking to check something out from the library that we don't have in our collection, talk to the librarian on duty about requesting the item from another library. It helps our library circulation and it helps another library's circulation! It also shows the State of Iowa how much we all appreciate this service!