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Van Delivery: Home

This LibGuide provides information about MSL's Van Delivery service.

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This list connects you with important information about Van Delivery. It's also THE place to ask other libraries for Van Delivery bags, as well as items missing in transit.

Contact for Van Delivery

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Beth Crist
She/her
Contact:
207-816-2999

Welcome to Van Delivery!

The Maine State Library (MSL) contracts to provide Van Delivery service to support resource sharing amongst Maine Libraries. Currently, delivery is provided to over 200 libraries of all types across the state. 

MSL has just announced that STAT Courier has received the conditional award of the recent request for proposal process for statewide Van Delivery service for FY2025. We know you have questions! Here are some FAQs to get started prior to the transition to the new vendor. Please know that this is a working document; we will continue to add to this as we receive more information about the transition.

Van Delivery FAQ

The simple answer is that like many states, Maine requires that purchases are made “…in an atmosphere of open competition.” (State of Maine Procurement Policy Manual)

The last RFP for statewide van delivery service for Maine libraries occurred in 2019, and only one bid was received. The current contract was to end on 6/30/2023 because the renewal periods in the 2019 RFP had run out, but with the hiring of a new State Librarian in December 2022, the Division of Procurement approved the extension of the current contract to 6/30/2024 as long as an RFP process for the service occurred in FY24.

Not surprisingly, given the rising cost of many goods and services, all of the bids came in considerably higher than current costs. We are currently calculating the exact annual cost for each type of library and will provide that information as soon as possible.

As this is a core service for Maine’s libraries and because we’ve heard from public librarians that financial support for this service is critical, MSL is committed to sharing this increased cost equitably. MSL will partially subsidize one day per week of Van Delivery service for public libraries, and all eligible public libraries will need to pay into the service based on a reasonable sliding scale. This change is necessary to keep the service sustainable. More information will be shared after contract negotiations with STAT Courier are firmed up, and the appeal period for the other RFP bidders has ended.

In May, MSL will reach out to all libraries currently receiving Van Delivery service with the cost for continuing their current level of service for FY2025 (July 1, 2024-June 30, 2025). Each library will have the opportunity then to tell us, using an online form, how many days per week they wish to have service. At this time any library may decline to continue on the service for the time being, and we will also welcome requests to join Van Delivery for libraries that meet the eligibility criteria (this criteria will be shared when the open enrollment period begins in later May to add, drop, or change service).

STAT Courier has experience providing this same type of service to 16 other library systems/consortia in other states. STAT provides a dedicated service, meaning that trucks, drivers, and sorters only deal with library materials with no additional stops for other types of courier delivery. In addition, STAT has three sorting hubs in Maine with a night haul process (shuttling materials between the three hubs) that will help with efficiency. There is a 24/7 customer service phone line, and STAT will survey library staff annually to obtain feedback to improve the service. The amount each library pays in to the service will also change, but with the ultimate goal of creating more equity in the service over time. Please visit https://stat-courier.com/ for general information about our new vendor.

For the RFP evaluation, which followed the state-mandated process, cost was only a portion of the score total. The RFP was also evaluated for Scope of Service/ Implementation and Qualifications/Experience. Please see the Statewide or Regional Delivery Service of Library Materials RFP for more information about how scoring was conducted for this specific RFP. The Bid Selection Package on the State RFP web site has all of the public information about the results of our RFP process.

MSL tried very hard to stick to an RFP schedule that would result in no gap in service. Unfortunately, State Procurement delayed this RFP process for 4 weeks by insisting on an Office of Information Technology review (despite the fact that the service does not include direct technology services to either MSL or participating libraries).

Our current contract with Freedom Xpress expires on June 30, 2024. Since we will transition service to a new vendor and must adhere to a rigid RFP timeline and protocol before a contract can be signed and approved by the State, the new service will likely not be implemented until late July at the earliest, and end of September at the latest.

MSL will communicate ideas for how libraries of all sizes can address this gap in service, particularly around messaging to patrons. Stay tuned for that information to be shared on the Van Delivery LibGuide after 5/16. In the meantime, MSL strongly encourages libraries to remember that transporting library materials in personal vehicles is not a best practice and has liability/financial implications for library staff, the libraries involved, as well as the towns that provide public funds to those libraries. If a library is contemplating this type of temporary solution, MSL recommends contacting an attorney and your library’s insurance provider to make sure the library’s risks are discussed before implementation.