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Best Practices for Delivery (ILL Trends & Challenges)

Minitex ILL Committee – Report written by Kathy Drozd, Minitex, January 27, 2011

Packing Materials for Tubs and UPS

Minitex manages the backbone of the region's delivery system, handling over 1 million items per year; there are also hundreds of thousands of items being handled by local library delivery systems throughout the three-state region. The cooperative efforts of Minitex and the regional systems in Minnesota (both public and multi-type), along with North Dakota and South Dakota libraries, result in cost-efficient delivery of materials in a large resource sharing network.

Delivery Best Practices are being discussed at local, regional and national levels. The NISO, the National Institute of Standards Organization, has a Physical Deliver working group established to create best practices for Delivery. Kathy Drozd is a participant in that working group.

Types of Materials


They can easily be packed in padded envelope for UPS or US mail. If going into the Minitex Delivery tubs, they can be placed directly in, without additional packaging. When packing in the tubs make sure all are packed spine to spine if possible.

Fragile Items or Items of Unusual Size

It is always the lending library's decision to send or not. If you are sending via UPS or US mail, make sure to pack with cardboard inserts to reinforce the sides, inside a well padded envelope or in a box that has been created for that particular item. If you are the borrowing library make sure to save all of the packing, along with the box to return a fragile or unusual sized item. If sending in Minitex tubs, you might want to place in padded envelope for extra protection. Again, it is the lending library's decision to allow an item to go out on ILL.

AV Materials

AV materials are often housed in hard plastic jewel cases. These can easily crack, although we have not had that many problems. NISO is recommending the flexible durable plastic case. Rubber bands can be used as needed to secure the AV containers.

Items that Go in Tubes

Currently, these items are placed in tubes and easily sent via US mail or UPS in the delivery system.

Types of Packaging


Tubs are an effective way to transport monographs, AV and paperwork. In the Minitex Delivery System, they are a hard plastic that provide the ability to stack up. For ergonomic reasons we recommend stacking the tubs only up to 3 high. Once, the tubs are secured appropriately they do provide some weather proofing and security with the white ties. In the new thinking of "green" the tubs have a long use life.

Padded Envelopes

These envelopes can be used to package anything that might need extra care. They can be placed in a Minitex tub, or they can be used as a standalone to send out via UPS and US mail. Our recommendation is to use the bubble soft padded envelopes not the shredded paper padding envelope. Opening the shredded paper envelope can create quite a bit of paper dust. The bubble wrap envelope can be used after its first use as padding in tubs or packing materials in boxes. The paper padded envelope can usually only be used once in shipping.

Premade Boxes

Premade corrugated cardboard boxes can be used to ship several items to one location via UPS or US mail.. If the box is too large, then using previously used padded envelopes as packing material will ensure the items do not move around. Also you can cut down the box to make it closer to the size you need. Still use packing material (those great padded envelopes) to stuff around items. Acquisitions boxes can be a source for these small book size boxes.

Creating Boxes

When a library ships in a box, they might indicate that they want that box back, when the item is returned. You need to accommodate that. Sometimes you can create a tight fitting box from precut standardized book size for a good fit.

Types of Labels or Routing Information

Tub Labels

For the Minitex Delivery System, we ask that you use the flip card for the tubs.

Slips for Books or Routing Slips

These routing slips should be placed to show the destination code on the top of the book, facing up. They should have clearly printed 3 letter OCLC Minitex Code. Check this website if you need to determine the OCLC code.

Labels for Packages to Be Sent via UPS and US Mail

All packages being sent in US or UPS must have the complete and correct mail address and zip code for the library receiving the package. It is recommended to always use a printed label not one a handwritten one.

Damaged Tubs or Packages

If a tub arrives and it clearly it has been damaged en route, please notify the Minitex office immediately. or, to alert us to the problem. We will then lead the discussion with the courier company.

UPS Packages

If you receive a UPS package from a library, and it appears to have been damaged in route, contact that library as quickly as possible. They will usually follow up with UPS.

Damaged Books, AV or Other Materials

Once the item has left the library, the ILL code is in effect, which states the requesting library is responsible. The borrowing library is responsible for all materials lost or damaged by their patrons or while in transit. Compensation will be in accordance with the preference of the lending library. The lending library will not bill the borrowing library for more than the amount they bill their own patrons. The lending library may accept a replacement copy in lieu of payment but in such cases may also assess processing fees. (Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States, 2001, section 4.9)

Delivery Mistakes via the Minitex Delivery system

If you note tubs that should not be in the system, or lids that need to be replaced put a note on them and let the staff know.

Courtesy Returns

The Courtesy Return Service provides a fast, efficient and cost effective means of returning materials to their home library. The library that received the item sends it to Minitex through our courier system.

To make use of this service, determine whether the home library is included on the Minitex Overnight Delivery System – Courier Libraries list. Proceed by inserting the orange routing form labeled "Courtesy Return" into the item, with the correct three-letter code printed on the form. Finally, place the item in the tub to be routed to Minitex. Once received, we will forward the item to the home library.

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University of Minnesota
Wilson Library, Room 60
309 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455

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