BCCLS to Resume Interlibrary Loans as Logjam Eases

By Anzidei, Melanie | The Record (Bergen County, NJ), March 1, 2018 | Go to article overview

BCCLS to Resume Interlibrary Loans as Logjam Eases


Anzidei, Melanie, The Record (Bergen County, NJ)


Library-goers in North Jersey, rejoice.

The backlog that has plagued the beloved interlibrary loan system all year is easing up.

The Bergen County Cooperative Library System anticipated it would resume online requests Feb. 26 — one month after the network suspended requests after a mishap with the state delivery system that led to a backlog that exceeded 86,000 items.

"By stopping everything, we managed to get the backlog out from the warehouses and delivered. Last Friday, we started filling out requests from the backlogs," said interim Executive Director Cindy Czesak on Feb. 21. "It's getting better, but we're not back to 100 percent. It's going to take a couple of weeks before we get back to normal."

After online requests resume, Czezak said, libraries should be able to return floating collections – items that belong to one member library but are temporarily at another library – back to their home libraries, the following week.

Online requests is a crucial service that BCCLS provides for residents across North Jersey.BCCLS, typically pronounced "buckles," is a 76-member network of libraries in Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Passaic counties. Residents who hold a library card at one of the member libraries can order books and other materials from any other library in the network.

That's why the suspension of online requests was a paralyzing predicament: locals no longer had access to the service that made BCCLS a valuable network to be a part of.

The backlog of items was the result of a mishap at the state level.

Earlier this year, LibraryLinkNJ – the state-funded nonprofit that handles interlibrary loans for BCCLS – dumped TForce Final Mile, the Dallas-based company that had handled their library deliveries for years, in favor of a competitor, Los Angeles-based Expak Logistics. But Expak's subcontractor withdrew from the contract at the last minute, and the company was ill-equipped to handle the delivery of tens of thousands of books among New Jersey libraries.

That resulted in a logjam that at one point topped 86,000 volumes in Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Passaic counties, and even more statewide.

In an effort to alleviate the crisis, BCCLS suspended online requests on Jan. 25. A notice on its website Friday stated "libraries are still experiencing major delays with the new state-wide delivery system and we are working hard to rectify the situation. …

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