Books on the way! The postal deIivery service by the public libraries of Graz

From EPSA - European Public Sector Award


In the era of computers and the World Wide Web, it is not only access to information and knowledge that has changed dramatically, but also consumer behaviour, among other aspects, that has significantly changed. Products can be ordered and purchased online seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Buying goods without leaving home saves time and nerves and sometimes also money. Why should these aspects not be valid for borrowing books and other media as well?

In 2006, the Public Libraries of the City of Graz started their process of structural renewal. One important pillar of modernisation and customised services is the postal delivery service. In cooperation with the Austrian Mail Service Corporation (Österreichische Post AG), all registered members of the Public Libraries of Graz can order all media (books, audio books, CDs, CD-ROMs, DVDs, videos and magazines) to be delivered to any of the 29 post offices in Graz. This service is free of charge and included in the membership fee for adults, which is 10 Euros per year. Membership and services are free of charge for all children and young people. Creating an order for the postal delivery service can be done via the online catalogue of the library ( and also by phone using the library hotline (+43/316/872-800), by fax or in person at one of the libraries. Most orders are done via the Internet, which was expected during the planning stage of the project anyway.

The aim is for all media to be delivered to the requested post office on the day after the order has been placed, but no more than three days later. Users will receive a confirmation e-mail as soon as the orders have been handed over to the postal services. The media must be collected within a week otherwise they will be returned to the libraries. All goods are delivered in strong, multi-useable carrier bags with ‘books on the way’ printed on them, which makes them easily identifiable. These carrier bags are used to return orders as well. Orders made via the postal delivery service adhere to the same deadlines and time limits as ‘regular’ orders made in person at the library; the only difference being a week added to regular time limits, to take into account mail delivery times. This ensures that orders via the postal delivery service are not disadvantaged in comparison to ‘regular’ orders. If orders are not brought back at the appointed time, the regular reminder procedure starts, as in any other case. Registered members can also have their orders delivered to their home address. This special service is free of charge for physically disabled persons, with all other persons being charged regular postage rates.

Delivery to the home address is not only used by people with limited mobility, but increasingly so by citizens living in the remoter outskirts of Graz, in suburban areas or the rest of Styria, for whom a visit to a library in the city would mean a lot of effort in terms of time.

Award info
Award category: public service delivery
Award type: submission
Award year: 2009
Project type
Sector: Information society, technology, media and audiovisual
Type of activity: business process re-engineering
Keywords: Library services
Short English description: Books and other media can be ordered online seven days a week, 24 hours a day and are delivered to the requested post office or the home adress.
Further information
Organisation: City of Graz - Culture, Department/Public Libraries
Other applicants:
Level of government: local level
Size of organisation: >100
Number of people involved:
Country: Austria
EU membership: EU member
Language code: en
Start date:
End date:

Books on the way! The postal deIivery service by the public libraries of Graz (47.0698155, 15.4314219)
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