Holds Frequently Asked Questions

How will I know my hold is ready to pick up?
You will receive a telephone call from our automated telephone system when your item is ready to be picked up at the library you chose when you placed the hold. Instead of a telephone message, some people prefer the convenience of an email message when their holds are ready. If you would prefer to receive email messages for holds or fines, please add an email address to your library card account.


Can I change where I pick up an item on hold?
This is not possible in the Online Catalog. To change a pick-up location, contact your local library.


I'm having trouble getting email notification of holds and overdue materials. What do I do?
Please click here to see the Email Notification FAQs.


I placed a hold on a title in the Online Catalog but when the hold was filled it was for a different volume than the one I wanted. How can I place a hold on a specific volume?
When you encounter a record in the catalog that has items for different volumes, parts, or years and you are not sure which item to choose please contact your local library and ask for assistance.


What is the cost of placing a hold?
Starting July 1, 2014 there will be no hold fee.


Why am I asked to log in twice?

When you place a hold before logging in, the system asks for your bar code and PIN to authenticate that you are a library patron. This authentication does not log you in. If you click on "My Library Account" after this type of authentication, you'll be asked for your bar code and PIN again in order to log in. To avoid this problem simply log in to your San Mateo County Library eBranch account before placing holds.

What do I do if I'm on vacation when my books on hold become available?

You can freeze your holds so they don't become available while you're away. When you come back you can unfreeze your holds and still have your same place in the holds queue.

To freeze holds:
  • Log in to your San Mateo County Library eBranch account.
  • From the Online Catalog click the “Your Library Account” link toward the top of the screen.
  • Click on the blue "Requests (Holds)" link and you will see a listing of items you have on hold.
  • Put a checkmark in the box in the Freeze column at the far right for each item you want to freeze.
  • Click on the "Update Selected" button at the left, just above your list of holds.

All holds with a checkmark in the box in the Freeze column are now frozen.

To unfreeze your items when you return:
  • Access your account and click on the "Requests (Holds)" link.
  • Remove the checkmark from the Freeze checkboxes and click on the "Update Selected" button.

Your holds will be unfrozen and active.