Books by Mail

Books are back!

You’ve missed library books–and they’ve missed you! The library is ready to support your access to books again, free through the postal system. Here’s how it works:

  1. Browse our print catalog.
  2. Call the library at 850-342-0205, and let us know which books you want. You may request up to 3 print books at a time.
  3. Confirm that we have your correct mailing address and library card number. We are not responsible if your mailing address is inaccurate. You must be a JCPL cardholder, or reside in Jefferson County, to receive books from JCPL.
  4. The library staffer speaking with you will check the books out on your library card. If you don’t have one, you can get one on the phone!
  5. We will put the books in a special package for you, along with a FREE return label. The postal carrier will pick them up and deliver them to your house.
  6. When you’re done reading the books, mail them back to the library. Seal the books in the envelope or wrap in paper, put the return label on the front, and then put them in your mailbox. The postal carrier will pick them up and deliver them to the library.

The rules

  • Right now, you can only borrow books in the JCPL catalog. Lending service between our partner libraries has been temporarily suspended. Available items will have a location of JCPL. The link above should only show items that are available at this library.
  • Please return the books within one month. You may not borrow more items until your books are returned.
  • Non-print items in our collection, such as DVDs and Books on CD are not available.
  • Only return library books to the library. Do not mail any kind of donations or other materials.
  • Be patient! Because our safety and processing systems are different, it make take several days to receive your items. We also have to deal with the availability of postage and shipping supplies. We will do the best we can to fulfill all requests in a timely manner. You will probably receive your items in a few days, but it can take longer.
  • If there is a Safer at Home or lockdown order in this area, we may not be able to process book requests until the lockdown is lifted. We will also suspend this service immediately under the direction of certain authorities, or if there is updated professional guidance on the safe handling of books. In that case, you will be allowed to hold on to the items until it is time for the library to reopen or service to be restored.
  • Take good care of the items. Avoid damage. You can be charged the replacement cost of the item if it is not usuable due to torn pages, water damage, etc.
  • Don’t try to return items to the book drop. It’s important to stay in your home as much as possible. Mail the items back to the library.

Book safety

The library staff have extensively researched the safety of library books and the mailing system. We have also coordinated with other libraries, document conservators, the U.S. Post Office, and Jefferson County emergency services to ensure the safety of the library staff, patrons, books and shipping process. As an additional precaution, books that are returned to the library will be put in quarantine for 72 hours before they are checked in. This “break” in handling allows any virus particles to degrade beyond detection, in accordance with the most updated research on the handling of books, cardboard and paper.

Remember: library books have been lent out for hundreds of years, and there is a significant body of research on the cleanliness of books. We are using industry standard techniques to quarantine, process and lend the items. Neither the World Health Organization nor the Centers for Disease Control believe that mail or packages are a significant vector of COVID-19 or other diseases. If you are concerned about handling library books or postal packaging, please make sure to wash or sanitize your hands after interacting with these items. If you are uncomfortable receiving print books at this time, try our collection of e-books and digital downloads.