Raise your hand if you have ever used the interlibrary loan service of a public or educational institution library. Are you sure? This service is fairly transparent and may have included interlibrary borrowing between far flung branches of a regional library system. My little library in the town of Onoway, Alberta – population hovering around 1000 people, offers a library catalogue of nearly 3 milion items. Plenty of these items are shipped using the Library Book Rate, a Canada Post services that has provided a reduced rate for mailing library books since 1939.
In 2008, a Strategic Review of Canada Post made a recommendation in relation to the Library Book Rate Program. This service was deemed not to be part of the current Universal Service Obligations of the Canada Post Corporation.
MP Merv Tweed has been working since 2007 on a legislative amendment to the Canada Post Corporation Act to embed reduced shipping for library books into the Act. The most recent iteration of this is Bill C-321. The link takes you to LEGISinfo, and for a depressing look at how long it takes to make a minor change to a federal act, click on “Similar Bills Introduced in Previous Sessions.
Canada Post increased the library book rate in 2012 and have been continuing to offer the service.
There is great information about the Library Book Rate available at the CLA website.