TEANECK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – The new year opened with a difficult chapter at public libraries in northern New Jersey.

As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, the simple act of moving books and other materials from one branch to another has slowed to a crawl, and book-lovers are getting impatient.

“Inter-library loaning has become our circulatory system,” library director Michael McCue told Aiello.

He said it’s a system designed to make for easy sharing among the 76 libraries in North Jersey.

Someone in Teaneck can request a book from Hoboken and have it in a couple days – at least until recently.

“If you look at the books I’ve requested, one says 11 days on the way, 14 days on the way. Usually you them in three or four days,” resident Cheryl Baker said.

Since the first of the year, a huge backlog has developed at a warehouse where things are sorted.

A California-based vendor now has the contract for moving stuff from branch to branch, but it’s struggling with logistics and hiring.

“When they did start up, they found that a number of the drivers they had hired just either failed to appear, had inadequately sized vehicles,” said McCue.

On Wednesday, Teaneck was happy to get five bins of books and DVDS, but McCue said “that would represent about 25 percent of a normal day delivery under the previous network.”

“So obviously they have a long way to go to catch up,” he added.

He said things are so clogged he starts his day by schlepping books, CDs and DVDs — using his own car to deliver them to libraries in other Bergen County communities.

“This needs to be resolved and soon,” he said.

The cooperative representing the 76 North Jersey libraries will meet next week to discuss the problem, with an eye on closing the book on this delivery disaster.

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