Library by Mail

by Sara Edmiston

Any resident of Adams County who is temporarily or permanently handicapped, elderly, or ill and is unable to physically visit the library is welcome to use our Library by Mail program.  We know that ebooks are not for everyone and are happy to offer Library by Mail to those who cannot visit the physical libraries and are not interested or are unable to use ebooks.

Library by Mail is offered at no cost to library patrons.  Fill out the Library by Mail application, available on our website,, or request the form by calling the Gettysburg Library at 717-334-5716.  Once the application is received, the applicant’s library card will be verified, and the account will be changed to a Library by Mail account.  Within a few days, participants will receive their first bag of library items.  

All library materials – books, DVDs, and audiobooks – can be requested through the Library by Mail program.  Participants of the program tell us their favorite authors and genres, whether they prefer regular or large print books, and even if they will accept books with strong language.  The library staff uses that information to select materials to send to participants.  

Looking for a specific book by a specific author?  Just like regular library patrons, Library by Mail participants can request specific titles.  They can also, like a regular library patron, place items on hold through the online catalog.  One thing that Library by Mail patrons cannot do is receive Interlibrary Loans.

How does this work?  Once the application has been received, the library staff will begin to pull material to mail.  We will mail between three and six items at a time, depending on type of material.  Items are checked out to the participant, placed in red mailing bags, postage is paid, and the bags are placed in the mail.  When the participant receives the bag, they simply unzip it and enjoy the library material within.

Items are checked out for six weeks to accommodate the time the materials spend in transit.

Returning materials is easy.  Simply put the items back in the red bag, flip over the mail tag, and place the bag in the mail.  The library handles all of the postage for Library by Mail.  Once the returns have been received, library staff will begin to work on sending the next.  We try to turn around Library by Mail bags as soon as possible.

One thing to know is that when someone is enrolled in Library by Mail, they are unable to check out other materials from the physical library locations.  Should Library by Mail be a temporary need, we can easily switch the account back to that of a regular library user.  

So if you or someone you know could benefit from Library by Mail services, or you just want more information, please don’t hesitate to contact the library.  The Library by Mail application can be found on our website,, under the Services tab.

Sara Edmiston is Public Services Director of the Adams County Library System.

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