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. 

Share Article

Comments and postings by library patrons do not necessarily reflect the official position of OCLS or its staff. All comments and posts are public records. Patrons are strongly encouraged to protect their privacy when commenting or posting on social software tools.

From book recommendations to pop culture discussions, the Orange County Library System wants you to join the conversation with library staff about the world around us.


It's National Biographer's Day! If you're interested in writing your own autobiography, consider joining our writer… https://t.co/dgnLRoXGjQ
2 hours 20 min ago
Have fun with your little one in this virtual sing-a-long featuring familiar songs with live guitar for you and you… https://t.co/lGthblDIh1
16 hours 26 min ago
Tune in next Saturday to celebrate the annual Asian Festival presented by the Asian American Heritage Council of Ce… https://t.co/4MzQNFtTK8
17 hours 52 min ago