OCLC announced recently that they are starting a direct to home delivery pilot. The pilot began in July 2006 with a group of libraries in Montana. The service pilot is designed to see how patrons would use a direct to their home capability. Assuming this pilot is rolled out, library patrons will be able to step beyond simply reserving copies to actually receiving the book in question which doesn't necessarily have to come from their local library. An additional aspect of the pilot is to determine how interoperabitity between library systems will work with direct to home. It costs about $24.00 to move a book from one point to another; obviously far in access of the physical cost and purchase price which is a glaring inefficiency in interlibrary loan. If any movement from one point to the other is eliminated from the process it 'avoids' approximately $24.00 in cost. Some have suggested that it doesn't make a lot of sense to have the patron return the book because a replacement could be had from a vendor for less actual cost. That last point is still a little radical.
UPDATE: In today's WSJ, there is a discussion about how libraries are managing change and specifically how they are using circulation date supplied by SIRSI/Dynix to aggressively manage their collections. The article notes that in one Fairfax county library Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls was not checked out over a two year period and presumably will be 'culled' to make room for titles that do circulate more frequently.
UPDATE (2). Lorcan Dempsey at OCLC has a more rounded commentary on the strangely high number of newspaper articles this week on changing processes and functions at Washington area libraries and what it all means.