Every week, Minitex receives questions about restarting the courier service. We are eager to start in a manner that is safe for library staff and patrons, and as orderly as possible. Planning is in full force, and Minitex delivery staff began going back into the office on a part-time basis starting this week. They will need some time to prepare the workspace, handle material currently waiting on the Minitex dock, and process material that has been waiting on the courier’s loading dock. And while some issues remain to be resolved, the tentative start date for the courier is June 22.
We're in contact with all of our direct-courier libraries to determine if they are able to accept a courier visit, to discuss quarantining and sanitizing procedures, and to learn more about what changes might need to be made at each location. In addition to staff safety, our priority is to ensure that staff at Minitex, the courier, and our courier libraries aren’t overwhelmed with material. We’ve had a number of discussions with libraries across the state, both as part of our REDS meetings, and as feedback prompted by our Minitex News article. Our plans are based on those discussions.
Once restarted, we are asking libraries to limit their courier materials to returns only. Please note that there will be no need to unpack tubs if returns and filled holds are combined – we’ll accept them as-is. The courier service will restart gradually. Maintaining physical distance means providing more space for Minitex staff, staggering schedules, and limiting the number of staff working at a time. This will cause delays in the process. We will keep a close eye on the volume of materials and open it up to holds and interlibrary loan requests once the backlog is processed. Once we are able to accommodate holds, we will implement direct delivery only (MNLINK requests to MNLINK libraries, Alma requests to Alma libraries, etc.) and recommend that libraries limit holds or interlibrary loan requests to five per person. Referrals will not restart until Minitex staff are able to process these items.
Thank you to everyone who has provided feedback during this process. It's been extremely helpful, and has helped us develop plans that consider all types of libraries. Do you have questions or comments? Please let me know! We expect to watch the process carefully, and make changes and adjustments as we learn more, and as the needs of our libraries evolve.