Materials on Hold at BPL

Holds pickup

Holds ready for pickup will be placed in designed holds pickup location of each branch location. Patrons can self-checkout their items using our kiosks, or using the BPL app on their mobile device. Patrons may receive assistance for holds checkout at the Service Desk at locations open for limited access.

Holds ready for pickup at branches that experience short-term closures will be held there until that location reopens. For long-term closures, holds will be moved to a nearby location and you will be notified when they are ready for pickup.

What is a hold?

A hold reserves a library item for you. If the item is unavailable at your local branch, it can be delivered there for your convenience. Patrons with valid BPL library cards may place a hold through the online catalog. If you have not already set up a PIN for your account, you must do so first. Go to My Account and follow the directions for setting up your account PIN. 

What can I put on hold?

Holds can be placed on any circulating item owned by BPL with the following exceptions: items that are reference only (LIB USE ONLY status); items that belong to special collections such as Services for Older Adults, the Brooklyn Collection, Literacy Centers, the Kidsmobile and the Bookmobile; items at locations that are closed for renovation; and issues of magazines and journals. In addition, those with a Juvenile Restricted card can only place holds on Juvenile (children's collection) materials.

Place a hold

Log into My Account. Click on "Catalog" or use the search bar at the top to find an item. Click on the title or cover image and once you see the full record, choose your preferred format and click on "Get This Item." For physical material, you will then need to select a location to pick up the item and check the box "I have a deadline for this material," if you wish to cancel if the material is not ready by a certain date. After you click on "Place Hold" and see the confirmation screen, click on My Account to return to your account to see all your holds. Or, you can click on "Search the Catalog" or "Catalog Home" to perform another search and place another hold.

You will be prevented from placing a hold if you have any billed items on your account.

Cancel a hold

No longer need one of your holds? Log into My Account and view your holds. Click the "Cancel" button for the item you do not need and then click on "Yes, remove hold" to confirm.

Freeze a hold

You can freeze your holds if you think your item will arrive when you will be unable to pick it up. Clicking the "Freeze" button next to your item will allow other holds to be filled without you losing your place on the hold queue. 

You cannot freeze a hold if:

  • The item has other available copies in the catalog
  • The hold is already in transit to your pickup location or on the holdshelf for you
  • The item is being processed and you are next in the queue
  • The hold is more than 255 days old
Unfreeze a hold

When you are ready, click on "Unfreeze Hold" next to your item and you will start moving up the hold queue like normal. 

Move a hold to pickup at a different location

You can move a hold to pick up at a different location by clicking on the "Edit Pickup Location" button next to your item and selecting a different location from the dropdown list. You cannot move a hold if the item is already in transit or on the holdshelf for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know when to pick up a hold?

We will notify you by email, text message, or telephone when it is time to pick up a hold. Update your notice preference by logging into My Account and clicking on "Account Details" and then on "Contact Preference."

I placed a hold but never received a pick-up notice. What happened?

Occasionally patrons do not receive holds notices because of incorrect information in their accounts. Please make sure that we have your correct contact information. This can be managed in your My Account preferences.

If you chose to receive your holds notices by email, your email account provider may be treating our BPL messages as spam mail and automatically sending them to your spam mail folder. If you have a spam mail filter in your account, you should be able to enter BPL's email address as a "safe" domain address so that our messages appear directly in your Inbox. BPL sends its notices from

If your information is correct, but you still have problems receiving library notices, please call 718.230.2100.

I received a notice saying that my hold could not be fulfilled and I should "consult a librarian." What does this mean?

Generally a holds cancellation notice is sent when the last copy of a requested item is determined to be damaged or missing. What this means is that when you placed the hold, the catalog showed that we owned at least one copy of the item. However, the item could not be found and its status was changed to "Not Available". This triggers a holds cancellation notice.

You can request information on whether we plan to repurchase the item using the Contact Us form on our website, or visit any BPL location for assistance.

I have a Juvenile library card (ages 12 and under) and can't put some items on hold. Why not?

There are two kinds of Juvenile library cards: unrestricted and restricted. Having a Juvenile Restricted card means that you can check out and place holds only on Juvenile (children's) items. All Juvenile materials have the letter 'J' at the beginning of the call number (J FIC R, J VIDEO S, J 973.7 M, etc.).

If you have a Juvenile Restricted card and want to change it, you must ask your parent or guardian for permission. Your parent or guardian must then contact the library to make the change. When you turn 13, you will have a Young Adult card, which does not have restrictions.

How long will it take for my hold to arrive at my local library?

If your hold is the only hold on the item and BPL owns at least one copy that isn't already borrowed (CHECK SHELVES status), the wait should be one to two weeks.

(If you need the item within a day or two, it is best not to place a hold. Search the BPL catalog and visit the neighborhood library nearest you that has the item on its shelves. You can call ahead to make sure that the item will be there for you when you visit.)

If there are already multiple holds and all copies are checked out, the wait will be longer.

How many holds can I place at one time?

There is a limit of 10 active holds per user.

I borrowed an item that now is on hold for someone. I want to renew it, but your system is blocking me because of the hold. Why can't I renew my copy?

Renewals are not permitted on titles that have holds on them. Once a hold request is placed, our system blocks that title from being renewed even if the catalog shows available copies at the libraries.

I placed a hold, and the "not needed after" (expiration) date is about to pass without my hold being filled. I still want this item and I don't want to lose my place in line, so can my hold expiration date be extended?

The "not needed after" expiration date cannot be changed from My Account. You can request a change using the Contact Us form on our website, or visit any BPL location for assistance.

You also have the option of logging into My Account, canceling the hold, and then immediately replacing it with a later "not needed after" expiration date. However, by canceling the original hold, you will lose your place in line if there was more than one hold on the item.

I placed a hold, and I see that the "not needed after" (expiration) date is about to pass. My item is now IN TRANSIT. Can the hold expiration date be extended a few days while the item is on its way to my local library?

There is no need to extend the "not needed after" (expiration) date in this case. As long as your item is IN TRANSIT status before the hold expires, your hold will be honored and you will be notified when the item reaches your local library.

I received my hold pick-up notice, but I won't be able to pick up the item before the holdshelf period ends. Can my local library keep it for an extra day or two?

It is BPL policy to keep requested items on holdshelves for 7 business days (days that location is open to the public). Staff at all library locations run computer procedures daily that result in the clearing -- both electronically and physically -- of any materials that have been in ON HOLDSHELF status for more than 7 business days.