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MLS Delivery: Delivery Policies

This guide introduces delivery at the Massachusetts Library System and provides all the necessary information about delivery, routes, scheduling, claim forms, etc.

Slips and Packaging


All items shipped must be clearly slipped with a MLS routing slip.

Non-slipped and mis-slipped items will be returned to the owning library.

For more information or to download slips, please refer to the 'Routes Information' page. 


Most items are shipped without packaging or rubber banding.  Exceptions include magazines which are likely to be damaged and media cases that may open during shipping.  A reasonable amount of wear and tear during shipping is expected and is part of doing business. 

Fragile, Rare, and Valuable Items

Do not ship fragile items that cannot withstand the wear and tear of delivery service handling.  MLS and Contractor cannot take responsibility for damage during the normal course of business. 

Do not ship valuable or irreplaceable items.  Replacement cost maximum is $250 per item for items damaged or lost with proof that the Contractor was responsible. 

Packaging Recommendations

Acceptable Alternative Packaging: 

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

When sending items in delivery, please avoid the use of:

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

MLS Delivery Policies


  1. Maximize effectiveness of statewide delivery contract
  2. Enhance efficiency for library staff
  3. Move toward MLS statewide standards that control costs to allow for expansion of services to enhance resource sharing in Massachusetts

General Policies

MLS Delivery Services are provided to support library resource sharing. Resource sharing requires reciprocity and we encourage it. MLS delivery participants must lend without charge to other MLS members.

Delivery service is provided to over 500 libraries. This service is not to be used to ship items to non-participating libraries.  A list of participants is available on our Delivery Index under Routes Information Tab.

Member Responsibilities

Participating libraries and networks will assign appropriate staff to monitor MLS and Optima communications about delivery services and agree to:

  1. Inform MLS and/or Optima about scheduled changes and closings in a timely manner
  2. Participate in every MLS Delivery Survey
  3. During inclement weather please ensure delivery has a safe path to deliver library materials. If pathways are not sufficiently cleared delivery may not arrive at your library.

At least one staff member at each library will be required to receive MLS-Delivery announcements via the Delivery listserv.


Delivery Eligibility and Scheduling

Any public, academic, school, and special library interested in joining delivery will be eligible if they are a member of MLS. *** Currently there is a hold on adding any non-network libraries. 

Network libraries are eligible for at least one delivery day per week. Members of a network may receive at least two days to start if volume justifies and budget permits. Additional delivery days will be assessed at the library’s request based on delivery survey statistics and the volume requirements.

Non-network libraries committed to resource sharing will receive delivery based on volume.  In order to be eligible for delivery, new members on delivery must have a weekly volume of 5-10 items.  New non-networked libraries to delivery will initially receive one delivery day per week.  Volume of resource sharing will be assessed at the library’s request based on delivery survey statistics and the volume requirements. 

All other adjustments to the number of delivery days scheduled, whether networked or not, will be at the request of the libraries.  Approval of additional delivery days will be determined based on average volume per days of delivery from the most recent delivery survey results. Preference will be given to libraries that adhere to delivery and resource sharing policies, libraries that lend library materials and that provide access to their holdings via an online catalog. 

Depending on yearly budgets and expenses, temporary holds on adding new non-network libraries may be put into practice. MLS may put a pause on increasing delivery days for both network and non-network libraries. Those libraries interested in delivery or additional days will be put on a list. MLS will evaluate the list once budget permits. Only in extraordinary circumstances will delivery days be reduced.  Reduction of delivery days will be determined based on average delivery volume after average volume is below the threshold. MLS reserves the right to assess delivery volume and delivery days at its discretion.  

Due to the complexity of delivery routes, timing of delivery cannot be easily adjusted.  Timing adjustments to current schedules will only be made in extraordinary cases and at the discretion of MLS, assuming the changes do not incur additional costs. 

Contact Information

Have a delivery question or concern? Contact Us!

Optima Customer Service:


MLS Delivery:

(508) 357-2121 option 1
(866) 627-7228



Libraries that are unable to meet the requirements set out here are encouraged to contact MLS to determine solutions that encourage efficient resource sharing.

Libraries that do not comply with MLS Policies are subject to delivery service restrictions.

Branch Delivery

MLS does not cover deliveries to library branches. Libraries interested in this service should contact Optima directly for a quote.

Shipping for Non-Library Materials

Delivery should not be used to send non-library materials. MLS and Optima are not responsible for reimbursing non-library items. If a not for profit wants to use delivery for shipping MLS must be contacted. Any questions regarding non-library materials please contact