Zip Books

Humboldt County Library has joined 30 other rural California libraries in an innovative experiment.
An image showing a book with the word Zip superimposed on it.  Trailing lines indicate speed.

A new way to get books that are not in the Library Catalog

Zip books are real books that can be sent to your home.  They come to you quickly -- that's the "zip" factor.

The “Zip Books for Rural Libraries” statewide demonstration grant project tests a “buy vs. borrow” model, whereby the library may buy a book the library does not own, and ship it directly to your home, rather than requesting the book from another library. 

This is proving to be an efficient way to provide library users with the books they want to read.

Because of this efficiency, tests so far appear to show that Zip Books can  actually save libraries money when used as a part of the Interlibrary Loan System.  The Library will still use the traditional Interlibrary Loan method, with Zip Books as a helpful option.

Library users are encouraged to participate in this statewide tryout of the Zip Book idea.  Humboldt County Library thanks the California State Library for the generous grant that allows us to participate in this program.


  • Request a Zip Book at the reference desk of any branch of the Humboldt County Library. You must have your library card in hand.
  • As with all Interlibrary Loan Requests, there is a fee of $1.00.
  • You are limited to one Zip Book at a time.  You must return your Zip Book before you can request another.
  • Books that the Humboldt County Library does not yet own, and that are at least one year old, may be requested as Zip Books. 
  • You may request books in regular print format, large-print format, or audiobooks on CD.
  • When your Zip Book arrives, a Gift Note in the book will say the book is "A Gift from Wayne Walker" or "A Gift from Matthew Miles" and that it is your library Zip Book.  Keep the slip in the book until you return it to the Library.
  • Books costing over $35.00, books out-of-print, or books that are not yet one year old, may not be requested as Zip Books.  
  • Borrowers may request no more than one Zip Book per month.

  • When you finish reading the book, return it to the staff at the Circulation desk, with the Gift Slip in the book.
  • (Do NOT return your Zip Book through the book drop.)
  • You will be asked to complete the ZIP book survey.
  • After returning your Zip Book and completing the survey you are eligible to request another Zip Book.
  • At the Library’s discretion the book will be added to the Library collection for future checkout or donated to the Friends of the Redwood Libraries.

You may have a total of one (1) Zip Book request at a time.