Library Services Centre

LSC, as with the world, was thrown a curve ball back in March. For the first time in our history, we had to shut down completely, as did many of you. Since then, we've been working to get back to work. It is gratifying to say that, as of June 22nd, LSC is back to 100% operations. We know you have many questions, so today we thought we'd answer some of the ones we've been getting the most.


What happens to the FPP?

LSC sent out the second installment Fixed Price Processing Plan invoices on schedule on May 1st, largely just as part of our internal processes. However, we were then as we are now well aware of the detrimental effect COVID has had on library budgets, and that anyone on the FPP will have dramatically different unit numbers. We also know that many libraries won’t know the full extent of this difference until later in the year.


To help with this, we extended the period for volume adjustments to August 1st, as we understand that actual unit volumes for 2020 may have been impacted. So, when you determine what your adjusted budget will be, we can then estimate the number of units (based on the average cost of material) and then adjust the units purchased accordingly.


How long will materials take to arrive?

As of today, we do not anticipate delays in receiving materials from major publishers. Material that has been postponed has been updated with new dates in our catalogue, and publishers have not informed us of any major delays. If this changes, we will let you know. 


Our internal processes have been changed to ensure the health and safety of our employees and clients. Quarantine periods have been placed on material at various stages, which will cause it to slow down in our internal process. However, we have structured these processes so that, as much as is possible, where is it under our control, there will be no significant delays of shipping materials from LSC. For material ordered pre-pub, our intent is get it to you before or by street date, the same as always. 


The commercial courier industry is seeing increased demand at this time, and has had to create new guidelines for itself. Next day delivery is rare these days. As such, when your materials is sent by commercial shippers, there may be minor (and in rare cases, longer) delays in materials reaching you. We will try as much as possible to take these delays into account when we ship, but the best the couriers can give us is an estimate for delivery. They especially cannot guarantee delivery within specific time windows right now. However, libraries on LSC's private route should see no delays. 


That being said, we are all adapting to the new regulations and will undoubtedly encounter unexpected hiccups. We ask for your patience as you no doubt will require ours at some point, and together we will get back on track. 


What is the situation with Multilingual materials?

Back in February, multilingual was the collection type we most expected to be impacted by COVID. This is because the material is coming from country of origin, and with each country having been hit differently by the crisis, we knew there would be some struggle. Additionally, many of our vendors bring material from country of origin to Canada via the US, and... well, it's a different situation down there right now. As such, availability will vary depending on the language and where it is coming from.  


Broadly speaking, most of our vendors are reporting delays of some kind. However, many shipments were received by our vendors before the lock down happened, which means there may be some material available throughout the summer. It is likely that the biggest delays will be felt later in the year. The situation is changing constantly though, and we are keeping in touch with our vendors for updates. If you would like a more specific estimate on the languages that you collect, please reach out to Julie Kummu and she can help.


What steps is LSC taking for internal Health & Safety?

LSC is fortunate to have a large plant which has allowed us to implement social distancing measures and health & safety features that other businesses are struggling to adjust to. We acknowledge our privilege in this regard. All of our employees who can work from home will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. This includes many of our customer service, selection service, marketing, systems, and cataloguing departments. This has also enabled us to spread our processing team over the entire footprint of our building, giving everyone the space they need.


Items that are received by LSC are quarantined before they are unpacked. Internal processes have been streamlined to eliminate unnecessary touch points. Masks are mandatory inside LSC, and in some areas face shields. All shipped packages are labeled, identifying when the box was sealed. Should a library request it, we will quarantine the sealed box for 72 hours before shipping it to you (thanks to our processes, in many instances 72 hours will have passed between sealing and delivery anyway). 


What changes have been made to pub dates for summer and fall materials?

The publishing industry had to make adjustments during this crisis, the same as everyone else. While many spring titles were too close to publication to change, we did see many changes made to title release dates that were expected during the summer. Likewise, there were some titles expected in the fall that have been pushed back. Some, into the winter. Others, six months or a year. 


Any changes to release dates are provided via automatic updates from the publishers, and are therefore reflected in the database the next day. We recommend running and outstanding order report on materials ordered before and during the lock down, and seeing if anything has had a change of release date that would affect your budget. We are confident that anything listed in our Fall Notables catalogues, released last week, will not see further delays.  


What is the status of the DVD market, and other AV materials?

Obviously, movie theatres have been closed since March, and no major movies have been released since then. As such, expected bestseller titles, such as Mulan, Black Widow, and the new Fast and the Furious will not be available until after their theatrical release. We have no idea of when that will be; it is well beyond our control. However, direct-to-video films (which many films expected to have theatrical releases became over the last three months), documentaries, TV series, and children’s titles all appear to be releasing as per usual, with only the odd title being pushed back. 


In Music, plenty of smaller, independent titles are available in all genres, but most of the larger, well-known artists are delaying their releases until the fall. These would be most of the bestseller titles. 


Video games remain available, and have increased in demand while everyone was stuck at home. Some spring and summer titles were delayed to July/August/September, but many titles are still available. Because the best seller season for video games is November and December, right now we anticipate no delays more than is usual in the video game industry. 


Very excitingly, in the past two weeks Sony has announced that the PS5 is coming to market this winter, and will be using physical media (at first, at least). Not only that, but it will be backward compatible with PS4 games! This should come as a relief to libraries who were worried about their existing catalogue of titles, and many who were concerned about video games going entirely digital. It also means you can continue buying PS4 games for your collections without the fear of them being obsolete in a year. 


What about a second wave?

Everything mentioned above is contingent on a world which continues to improve. Existing release dates for fall and winter rely on no further delays or obstacles. Obviously, all of that is beyond LSC's control. We can merely react to what ever happens next. There is much concern over a second wave, and restrictions being put back in place. Should that happen, LSC will follow the guidelines of the Ministry of Health, the Ontario Government, and the Region of Waterloo Public Health, as we did the first time.


We will make every effort to communicate in a clear and timely fashion what our response will be, and our marketing staff would be reaching out to you individually. As we have seen throughout the spring, things can happen quickly, and changes need to be made on the drop of a dime. But the first time, it was unexpected and no one was prepared. That will not be the case again.


To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, our YouTube Channel,  and now on Issuu. We also encourage you to subscribe to the weekly Green Memo, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.

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