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FAQs: Holds & Cart

What is a hold and how does it work?

A hold is just library lingo for ordering an item. When you place a hold, the item you requested is put on a list. Our librarians print this list once a day, retrieve the items from their shelves, and put them in transit. The items are sent to our Distribution Center for sorting and are then routed to their final destinations. Once there, a librarian will scan the item in, which generates an automatic notice by phone or email that the item is ready for pick up.

More information about holds can be found here.

How do I place a hold?

Log in to your account using your library card number and password (usually the last four digits of your phone number). Search for your item and click Place Hold underneath the item. On the next screen, confirm your pickup location, and then click Place Hold. You will be notified when your item is available for pickup!

Need more details? Read our step-by-step instructions.

What if an item I want is at another library or is checked out?

All of our libraries share materials with each other, giving you access to a vast collection of books, movies, music, and more. You can place a hold on items you want regardless of their current locations – we will happily send them to your preferred library.

If items you want are checked out, you should also place a hold. We will send a copy to you as soon as it becomes available. For details, read our step-by-step instructions for placing a hold.

How long do holds take?

Holds can take anywhere between a few days or a few weeks, although they generally take 1-2 weeks. Hold lengths can vary due to the popularity of an item, but we monitor this and strive to maintain no more than a 4-1 ratio of holds to copies.

Another factor that can impact delivery time is that our items are spread between our 30 libraries. This gives each of our communities access to a greater selection of materials than any of them would have individually. But it does mean that holds sometimes take longer because they are being transferred from distant locations.

Need help placing a hold? Follow our step-by-step instructions.

Why doesn't the hold I placed show on my account?

You may be placing items in the cart rather than placing a hold. This happens to a lot of people when they first use our system! Please read our step-by-step instructions for placing holds.

If this still isn’t working for you, please call your local library so the librarian can help!

Why hasn't my hold arrived?

There are several reasons that a hold might be delayed. Your local librarian will be happy to troubleshoot the problem with you.

How do I order an item to be mailed to my house?

We are happy to mail items directly to your home! Place a hold as you normally would, but select “Mail Order Library” as your pick-up location. Learn more on our Mail Order Library page.

Can I change the pickup location for a hold?

If the item is not already in transit, you can call your local library and ask them to change the pickup location to another library or have the item mailed to your house.

What is the online cart and how do I use it?

The online cart is used to store items from our catalog temporarily until you are ready to order them (place a hold). You can add items to the cart by clicking Add to Cart under each item. 

From the cart, you can view an item’s details, add items to a list, and place items on hold. Read our guide to the cart for more detailed instructions.

Where is my cart?

Once you have begun searching our catalog, you will see the cart on the very top right side of the page. More information can be found here.

What do I do once I have items in my cart?

Once you have items in your cart, most people do one of two things. You can add the items to a list, so that they are stored permanently, or you can place them on hold and then check them out when they become available.

Remember, the cart is for temporary storage and will delete itself, so please don’t leave items in there for too long!

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