Delivery FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Updated February 2015
For more detailed information about delivery please visit the Delivery Guide.
General Delivery Questions
Which Holidays affect Delivery?
How do I fill out a blank transit slip for ILL/Virtual catalog items?
How should I attach a transit slip?
What should I do if an item arrives in delivery damaged?
What should I do if an item does not arrive in delivery?
What should I do if my delivery has not arrived at its scheduled time and I didn’t receive an email announcing a delay?
What should I do if my library has an unscheduled closure or is inaccessible for delivery?
How do I sign up to receive delivery announcements via the delivery email list?
Barcode Placement Questions
What is the External Barcoding Policy that was established in 2009?
Is my library required to retrospectively place barcodes in the new standard location?
My library is not a member of a network. Do we need to follow the barcode policy?
My library is following the Barcoding Policy, but we have a number of barcodes on the back. Do we have to re-barcode these?
Sort to Light Questions
What is sort-to-light?
What networks are on sort-to-light?
If a library puts an item into a delivery bin that should have been kept in their library on the Hold shelf for a patron, what will happen?
What happens if an item in the bins is not in an In Transit status when it is scanned by Optima?
What happens if an item in the bin is in transit to a different network via the Virtual Catalog?

General Delivery Questions

Which Holidays affect Delivery?

There will be no delivery on the following Holidays:

Independence Day
Labor Day
Columbus Day
Veterans Day
Thanksgiving Day
Christmas Day
New Year’s Day
Martin Luther King Day
Presidents’ Day
Patriot’s Day
Memorial Day

How do I fill out a blank transit slip for ILL/Virtual catalog items?

When sending items to libraries, in order to fill or return ILL/Virtual requests, use the Delivery Index. Make sure you use the specified regional slip (B, C, M, N, S, or W) and fill in the first line with the identification information found in the yellow portion of the delivery index. Sorters have difficulty attempting to determine the destination based on the Virtual Catalog Band. If there is any uncertainty, the item will be shipped to the owning library.

You can also send items to libraries outside of your network. The purpose of a statewide delivery system is to provide easy quick service between all areas of the State. Use the Delivery Index when filling out slips, in order to ensure it arrives expediently.

The MLS Resource Sharing team offers mediated interlibrary loan for any member library that would like to use the service. For more information about ILL, please visit the ILL Guide or email Sue Kaler.

How should I attach a transit slip?

When putting items in delivery place transit slips firmly inside book, CD case, DVD case, etc. with the sorting region and destination clearly labeled and visibly sticking out. If the binding is not strong enough to hold the transit slip then the use of a rubber band or alternative packaging is acceptable to secure the item.

Keep in mind that most items are shipped without packaging or rubber banding. If you have an item, such as magazines or media cases, that are more likely to be damaged or opened during shipping, please use alternative packaging. A reasonable amount of wear and tear during shipping is expected and is part of doing business.

Acceptable Alternative Packaging:

  • Protective Cases
  • Padded Envelopes
  • Manila Envelopes
  • One to two rubber bands (to secure the transit slip)

When sending items out, please avoid the use of:

  • Staples
  • Tape (on items)
  • Glue (on items)
  • Plastic Bags
  • Small Envelopes (they can easily get lost in delivery)

What should I do if an item arrives in delivery damaged?

Click here to view our Best Practices Lost Damaged Items

Verify that the damage did not occur before the item was placed in delivery. If you are the owning library and you determine the item was damaged while in transit, send it to the MLS- Marlborough Office, using a “C” routing slip, Attention: Caitlin and fill out a claim form on our webpage using the Online Claim Form.

If you are the borrowing library, please send the item back to the owning library and notify them of the issue. They can submit a claim as described above.

What should I do if an item does not arrive in delivery?

Click here to view our Best Practices Lost Damaged Items

Verify that the sending library did indeed send the item out into delivery. If you are the owning library and you determine the item was placed in delivery and has not arrived at your library within 2 months you may fill out an Online Claim Form.

If you are the borrowing library, please contact the owning library so they can submit a claim as described above.

Please notify MLS if an item for which you have submitted a claim turns up so we can stop the reimbursement process or cancel the claim by emailing caitlin@masslibsystem.org.

If you notice that a pattern of missing items has developed, particularly for media such as DVDs, CDs, or games, notify the MLS office immediately.

What should I do if my delivery has not arrived at its scheduled time and I didn’t receive an email announcing a delay?

If your delivery has not arrived by its scheduled time, please check the Delivery Guide for delays. If your route is not listed as running behind, please contact MLS at (866) 627-7228. You may also sign up for the Delivery Updates listserv by emailing caitlin@masslibsystem.org. On this listserv you will receive route delay updates.

What should I do if my Library has an unscheduled closure or is inaccessible for delivery?

Call Optima’s Customer Service line 781-569-0201 or email customerservice@shipoptima.com and inform them of the timeframe your library will be closed or inaccessible. For extended closures, additional measures may be required. If you are unsure, please contact our office (866) 627-7228.

How do I sign up to receive delivery announcements via the delivery email list?

To be added to the delivery email list, please email caitlin@masslibsystem.org. Please make sure at least one person from your library receives emails. We periodically put out important policy information and pertinent changes.

Please note we have two delivery lists. One is for policy and general updates. We have a second for daily route updates for when a delivery route is running late. Route information is also available on the Delivery Guide if you do not wish to receive email updates. Please specify to which email list you would like to be subscribed.

Barcode Placement

What is the External Barcoding Policy that was established in 2009?

The External Barcoding Policy established in 2009 requires items’ barcodes to be placed horizontally on the upper left corner of the front of the item.

Is my library required to retrospectively place barcodes in the new standard location for items purchased before the policy was established in 2009?

No. However, it is easier to place a barcode on an outgoing item once than it is to continually place a delivery slip in it for shipping. Also, it is helpful to circulation staff in all libraries for barcodes to be in a uniform location.

My library is not a member of a network. Do we need to follow the barcode policy?

No, we do not have the ability to provide your library with label-less sorting and do not require compliance with the barcode placement policy. However, this policy also enhances efficiency for circulation and self-check operations and you might consider it for these reasons.

My library is currently following the External Barcoding Policy, but we have a number of items with barcodes on the back. Do we have to re-barcode these items?

If the items pre-date 2009 when the External Barcoding Policy was set, you do not have to re-barcode items that have barcodes displayed horizontally on the upper left corner of the back cover. When shipping, place these items “barcode up” in the tote. Items after 2009 must comply with the External Barcoding Policy, with barcodes displayed horizontally on the upper left corner of the front cover.

Items that have the barcode displayed vertically must be re-barcoded or a slip must be used regardless of when the item went into circulation.

 

Sort to Light

What is sort-to-light?

Sort-to-light is a semi-automated sorting technology that allows libraries to ship materials without requiring a label to indicate the item’s destination.

Want to see how sort-to-light work? Watch this short video featuring Optima’s sort-to-light operations by clicking HERE.

What networks are on sort-to-light?

SAILS , Minuteman, OCLN, CLAMS, MVLC, CWMARS and NOBLE

If a library puts an item into a delivery bin that should have been kept in their library on the Hold shelf for a patron, what will happen?

The item will get sorted back to that library. The system information doesn’t change, so the system thinks that the item should be at the library awaiting a hold. The system tries not to assume too much so this falls within the design for lack of information. The system is designed to default to the hold location in this event.

What happens if an item in the bins is not in an In Transit status when it is scanned by Optima?

It depends. In general one of two things will happen to it:

  1. It will go to the intended library.
  2. It will go to its home library (without the destination info and the system defaults to the home library).

The ultimate destination will depend upon the item’s current status. For example, if the item is supposed to be on hold at a particular library, it will default to that library (see question above). If the item is supposed to be on its home library’s shelve and was mistakenly put into delivery, it will default to the home library.

What happens if an item in the bins is in transit to a different network via the Virtual Catalog?

Items leaving to go to a library participating in the Virtual Catalog would read as In Transit to the location “URSA”. These items will require a transit slip in order to determine destination.

Virtual Catalog labels alone do not provide enough information for sorters to determine an items destination. When sending items outside of your network via the Virtual Catalog or “point to point” please remember to use a MLS delivery Routing Slip, found here: Delivery Guide.

 

If your questions are not answered by the policy or FAQ, please contact us at delivery@masslibsystem.org.