Two separate libraries in Ames, Iowa have begun using bicycle delivery service for interlibrary loans, rather than sending them through the mail. The Ames Public Library and Iowa State University Library are both located in Ames and are only a couple miles apart from each other. Mailing books to each other routed the packages through Des Moines, which is 31 miles away.
The two libraries are now using a local bicycle delivery company called Bikes at Work (who primarily build bike delivery trailers) for an alternative, car-free interlibrary loan service. Using the bike delivery service has improved the delivery speed ("from 4.63 days to 3.13 days"), lowered the cost ("the cost per item is just 48 cents, while the average parcel -not always one item- last year was $2.48") and increased the types of materials that can be exchanged (notably CDs and DVDs can now be loaned).
The run is profitable for the delivery company, cheaper for the libraries, and better for the environment. What’s not to like about this?