Corona, Background

Reading during the coronavirus pandemic

If you can no longer go to the library, don’t worry – it will come to you: the Aarau town library is trialling a new service with Swiss Post and is delivering books and other media directly to private letter boxes.

Ines Schumacher

One of the first thank-you letters came from Lee-Ann Chou: “To everyone at the library Thank you for all the great books that you have sent to me. I’m never bored any more. Kindest regards, Lee-Ann Chou.”
One of the first thank-you letters came from Lee-Ann Chou: “To everyone at the library Thank you for all the great books that you have sent to me. I’m never bored any more. Kindest regards, Lee-Ann Chou.”

To all those who say that reading is out of fashion, Aarau town library is experiencing the complete opposite – usage numbers have been rising for years. A few days before the closure imposed by the authorities due to the coronavirus outbreak, the number of books on loan trebled. For readers the closure was almost like the tap being turned off and they suddenly found themselves high and dry without any books. Fortunately, they made their feelings known, which, in turn, led the library’s management to speed up their plans for home delivery in the region.

Swiss Post had been planning to introduce “Bücherpost” book delivery as a service on the last mile for some time but had lacked the opportunity to trial this with a partner. The idea gained fresh impetus as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. It was implemented within a week by project manager Jasmin Spycher with support from the internal logistics experts Thomas Loretz and Marco Tschannen from PostMail. The process is quite straightforward: librarians pack the ordered books into plastic bags, attach address labels to them and take them to one of four delivery points. From here the mail carriers collect the books and deliver them on their normal rounds directly to the mailboxes of library customers. The library covers 30 municipalities around Aarau with the service, allowing it to reach 85 percent of its customers. The town of Aarau uses the cycle courier service Voilà, which carries out the collections from the town library’s media return boxes.

The customers are delighted with the “Bücherpost” book delivery service and many have expressed their thanks to the library.

Lilo Moser, manager of the Aarau town library, is equally pleased: “The service has got off to a good start. As the customers really appreciate it, we will consider whether to make home delivery a permanent service after coronavirus.”

There has already been further contact with libraries interested in trialling book deliveries after the coronavirus crisis.

written by

Ines Schumacher