New material delivery service launched

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Harvard Direct, a new service that delivers Harvard-owned materials to one of 15 libraries selected by the patron, transitioned on June 5 from from a successful beta test to an established Library service.

The service, which is available to all Harvard faculty, staff and degree-seeking students, will be rolled out at additional libraries in the coming months, and will be widely publicized in September 2014.

During the six-month beta test, which began in December 2013, almost 32,000 items from Widener, Countway and Harvard Law School Library were pulled and delivered within four days of a patron’s request to one of 15 pick-up locations, which included Andover-Harvard, Cabot, Countway, Fine Arts, Gutman, Harvard-Yenching, Knowledge & Library Services at HBS, Lamont, the Law School Library, Library & Knowledge Services at HKS, Loeb Design, Loeb Music, Tozzer, Widener and Wolbach libraries.

During the beta, a majority of requests were made for Widener holdings, reaching 500 volumes per day late in spring semester. Richard Lopez, the reshelving and consolidated retrievals supervisor at Widener, reported a smooth process throughout, saying, “Our biggest surprise was that our student workers enjoy pulling—they like the hunt,” he said.

“The success of the beta test is due to the efforts of staff members, who pulled books, drove trucks and received material. Harvard Direct would have been difficult, if not impossible, without the thorough support of staff members at 625 Mass. Ave. and LTS,” said Lee H. Fenn of Access Services.