Our History Speaks Volumes: Books-By-Mail

March 6, 2020 | Mike Donohue
Our History Speaks Volumes: Books-By-Mail (Pictured: A brochure circa 1970s and a publicity photo from 1976.)

(Pictured: A brochure circa 1970s and a publicity photo from 1976.)

Our Books-By-Mail service began in December 1973. In its earliest iteration, customers could mail a card or letter to the library requesting up to three titles from the collection. The books were delivered by the U.S. Postal Service in bags that could also be used to return them. More than 400 letters praising the service were mailed to the library during the first few months of 1974. “I am flabbergasted at such first-class treatment from a service organization,” one customer noted. “This service is one of the most convenient, time-saving and energy-conserving ones I’ve seen,” said another. The service remains popular with over 40,000 packages delivered monthly, though today materials are delivered by Priority Express Parcel in what some customers have come to call “Blue Bags of Happiness.”

Blue Bags of Happiness

Our History Speaks Volumes will be a recurring feature to give readers insight into Orange County Library System’s nearly century-long history. 

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