Book Backlogs: How the Library is Handling the Current Book and Paper Shortage

November 17, 2021 – Kayla Thompson, Adult Services

Hello book readers, adventure seekers, and general library visitors and guests! As we look back on another year, we might start realizing all of the different inconveniences and setbacks that COVID has caused and is still causing. This is probably going to be more apparent as we slide into the holiday season. In many areas shipping, mailing, and supply are low and slow.

This being said, here at the Cape Girardeau Public Library, we have been trying our best to stay on top of all the many changes to keep both ourselves and our community as up-to-date and prepared as possible. As new changes have cropped up, we have done our best to adapt in order to ensure that our library services are helpful, convenient, and as safe as possible. Our top priority is always this community, our staff, and the library’s many patrons.

But even we are not immune to the book and paper shortages that the country as a whole is experiencing. So if you find yourself at the bottom of a long list of holds, please be patient with us. We understand the struggles and frustrations and we’re trying to keep on top of the issue as best as we can.

Things we are doing to try to ensure we get the titles you want and need:

1. Purchasing materials earlier than usual. So, if you have a title you are really interested in, get that request in as soon as you can. The earlier we get your request, the sooner we can purchase books so that publishers have an accurate count of what they need to print.

2. Preordering multiple copies of materials from different vendors. This way if one vendor is experiencing delays, we can get a copy from another vendor while we wait.

3. Labeling and stickering our books in-house instead of streamlining with the vendor who supplies our books. This is an extra step that our supplier does for us. It can be very convenient, but it can also slow down our shipment times. For some of our orders, we have opted to do this step ourselves to get your books to you faster.

4. Building up our eBook collection through Libby and Overdrive so that you can listen or read books on the go while you wait.

A lot of books and materials are printed/made in China and so with ports being congested, shipping costs on the rise, and a shortage of materials, resources, and workers, delays are inevitable.

Because of all of these factors, book release dates are changing all the time, books are running out of print faster and creating huge backlogs. And through all of it, we as your public library are doing our best to come up with new and creative ways to solve these issues. If you can’t find a physical copy of your book, digital might be the better option, but even our digital resources may be experiencing long wait times.

If all else fails, visit our wonderful staff to talk about your favorite books and maybe get a suggestion on alternative titles and authors to tide you over in the meantime. Our staff all have really great suggestions and this might just be the time to experiment and find something new to read and love.

Cape Girardeau Public Library

Our mission is to be the community's first choice for information gathering experiences through social interaction, programming, technology and the written word for all ages. Come visit us today and follow us on Facebook to stay in the know.

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