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Holds pickup during Lobby Service

Currently, patrons can only retrieve holds at locations offering lobby service.

Staff will place holds ready for pickup in the vestibule or cordoned off areas in the library's lobby. Patrons must self-checkout their items using our kiosks, or using the BPL app on their mobile device.

Holds ready for pickup at a closed location will be held there until that location reopens.

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 that is 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 cannot place holds on any items other than Juvenile (children's collection) materials.

Place a hold

Log into My Account. Click on "Search the Catalog."  Select a title by clicking directly on the name. Once you see the full record, click on "Place a Hold." You will then need to select a location* to pick up the item and a "cancel if not ready by" (expiration) 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.

* For the time being, Central Library cannot be selected as a hold location as staff works through a large backlog of holds. Pre-existing holds set for Central will remain that way unless you choose to change it.

Cancel a hold

No longer need one of your holds? Log into My Account and check the box to the left of the item you'd like to cancel. Remember to click the "Update List" button to save any changes made to your holds list.

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" checkbox next to your item will allow other holds to be filled without you losing your place on the hold queue. Remember to click the "Update List" button to save any changes made to your holds list.

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, uncheck the freeze box and you will continue moving up the hold queue like normal. Remember to click the "Update List" button to save any changes made to your holds list.

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 "Pickup Location" dropdown and selecting a different location. Remember to click the "Update List" button to save any changes made to your holds list. You cannot move a hold if the item is already in transit or on the holdshelf for you.

* For the time being, Central Library cannot be selected as staff work through a large backlog of holds. Pre-existing holds set for pickup at Central will remain that way unless you choose to change it.

Screenshot of My Account - Holds Screen


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 [email protected]

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 DAMAGED, LOST, 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.

If you requested a book and it was the last copy in the BPL system, you can visit your local library and request an Interlibrary Loan (ILL) for that title. BPL Interlibrary Loan policy allows you to request books only.

You will be prevented from placing a hold if you have $15 or more in fines on your account.

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 before the hold expires, 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 library policy to keep requested items on holdshelves for 7 business days. 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. 

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