The Global Supply Chain and Your Library

This is a guest blog post by our Collection Development Coordinator, Jessica Tackett MacDonald.

Have you heard about the international shipping crisis? The news has been hard to miss. I hope you are starting your holiday shopping early! Unfortunately, ongoing supply chain issues around the world are also affecting the book publishing industry.

Publishers are experiencing difficulty obtaining raw materials—like paper and ink—to print books. Congested shipping ports across the globe are leaving printed books trapped in limbo. This is especially true of those beautifully color printed children’s books, art books, and cookbooks, which are primarily manufactured overseas. Such delays may lead publishers to delay publication dates of new books for marketing purposes. Publishers, our book vendors, and freight and delivery services are also experiencing staffing shortages.

In short, it’s a mess! Bookstores and libraries everywhere are experiencing significantly longer delivery times to receive the physical books that we’ve ordered for you to read.

Through the end of 2021 and into 2022, your Boston Public Library experience may, unfortunately, include the following:

  • Books listed as “On-Order” in our catalog for longer than usual
  • Slower moving holds lists, as our re-orders will take longer to arrive
  • Cancelled holds for missing books that we are unable to repurchase

We apologize sincerely for these inconveniences! We always strive to have the books you want to read ready for you to check out. These unfortunate delays are mostly out of our hands, but we are doing what we can to expedite our orders.

  • We are ordering more copies of in demand books to anticipate your demand.
  • We are ordering more titles for our Lucky Day collections, so when you visit, you will find more bestsellers to take home the same day.
  • We are ordering books further ahead of publication date to ensure the fastest delivery.

While you wait for your favorite author’s latest book to arrive, try these tips:

If you have questions about specific, books, holds, or new titles, speak to a librarian at any of our locations or email our Collection Development team at We are happy to check up on Purchase Suggestions, delayed holds, eBook problems. Or we can just commiserate with you while we also wait for the season’s best new titles to hit our shelves.