Library as Post Office–A New Opportunity for Partnering?


Mail box

Mail box (Photo credit: Mark Sardella)

So perhaps you’ve heard about a new initiative from the United State Postal Service called the Village Post Office (VPO) program.  It allows businesses, convenience stores, and libraries to offer limited postal service. “This lets the town keep its zip code and offers the most popular services, including collection, stamp and flat rate packaging sales.”

What do you think of this?  I have seen discussions comparing this to the IRS discontinuing mailing income tax forms.  While many libraries have continued to provide forms, others display large signs:  “NO Income Tax Forms Available Here.”  I know that offering income tax forms involves work, and takes up space.  But, although I’ll get flak for this, I still believe it is an important service to our users, and allow libraries  to make the case that they are providing essential service for the taxpayers, and should be supported appropriately by their municipality.

The VPO initiative seems like an even better proposition to me.  What taxpayer doesn’t want to see a post office remain in their community?  And the Postal Service will train the library staff, and reimburse the library.  Apparently 113 public libraries here in Wisconsin received letters from the USPS inviting them to “bid” how much it would cost them to take part in the VPO program.  And “The VPO contract says that it can be cancelled at any time with 30 days written notice with no penalty.”  Sounds good to me, but your mileage may vary.  If you are interested, or approached, think it through.  Does it fit with your library’s mission?

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