Toronto Public Library Homepage

Placing Holds

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ

About Placing Holds

How Holds Work

What is a hold?

A hold is an online request to have a book, movie, or other material delivered to your nearest library branch.

Why would I want to place a hold?

You may want to place a hold if the item you want is:

  • currently on loan to another customer
  • at a location that is not convenient for you to get to
  • currently on order but not yet received by the library
What do I need to place a hold? Is there a charge?

You need a valid Toronto Public Library card in good standing in order to place a hold. There is no charge for placing holds. You will only be charged if you do not pick up your hold by the pickup date. To avoid the fine, pick up or cancel your hold by the pickup date.

How many holds can I place at one time?

You are allowed 60 holds at one time. This includes holds that are active, inactive, in transit, and ready for pickup.

What kinds of library materials can I place on hold?

You may place a hold on any item that is available for borrowing, except:

  • Magazines
  • Best Bets (special browsing collections of popular titles that only circulate for 1 week)
  • New release English-language feature DVDs (for the first 6 months after they come in)
  • Book Club Sets
  • Museum & Arts Passes
  • Digital Equipment
  • Pedometers
  • Reference materials
  • Vertical files
  • Unavailable items (where status is Missing, Lost/Paid, Storage)
I'm not able to place a hold. Why not?

There are a few possible reasons:

  • It is an item listed above
  • The item is rated as an adult film and you have a children's or teen card
  • All the copies are reference - which means people can only use it in the library
  • Your card has expired
  • You already have a copy of the title checked out or waiting for you on the hold shelf
Why can't I place holds on new DVDs?

There is a 6-month no-holds period for some new DVDs, usually for feature movies that played in a movie theatre or were theatrically released. Every month, as new feature DVDs reach the end of their no-holds restriction period, they will appear on the New Holdable DVDs list.

How do I place a hold on the website?

Do a search for the item you are looking for. Each item that is available for holds will have a green "Place Hold" button beside it.

Just click on this button and follow the steps of entering your library card and PIN number. (If you are already signed in to your account you won't have to do this part.) The pickup location will default to your home branch. If the hold is successful, you will receive a confirmation message.

How can I see what I have on hold?

Sign in to your account with your library card and PIN. Click on the Holds tab to see everything you have on hold. You will see any holds that are ready for pickup, in transit, or still outstanding.

What does the hold position mean?

When your hold has the description "1 of 25", it means that you are the first person of 25 on the waiting list for that title. If you are "24 of 25", you are the 24th person of 25 people on the waiting list. If you click on the title of the item from your list of holds, the full record for the item also shows the number of copies of that item owned by the library.

How long will it take to get my holds?

This depends on the availability of the item and/or the number of people ahead of you on the waiting list. If an item is In Library at another branch, it should take approximately a week to be transferred to your branch for pickup. If there is a big waiting list for an item, it will take longer. New items that are still On Order may take considerable time to arrive, as the library often places its orders in advance of publication.

When a hold is being sent to your branch for you, it will show in your account as In Transit.

How will I know when my holds are available for pickup?

You may choose to be notified by telephone or email when your holds become available.

How much time do I have to pick up my holds at the branch?

You have 7 days to pick up your hold. The expiry date will be indicated in your phone call or email notice and can also be viewed in the Holds tab in your account online. Holds will stay on the shelf until the end of business on the expiry date.

How will I find my holds when I get to the branch?

Each branch has a holds shelf where the items are sorted by the last 4 numbers of your library card. For example, if your card number is 29100612347561, you will find your holds shelved under the number 7561. The first two letters of your surname also appear on the wrapper.

What happens if I don't pick up my holds?

If you do not pick up a hold by the pickup date, it will be removed from the shelf at the branch. You will be charged $1.00 for each hold not checked out or cancelled by the pickup date. If you check the Notices tab in Your Account, you can see the holds that you have missed should you wish to place them on hold again.

Do holds ever expire or get cancelled by the library?

By default, your holds will be set to expire two years from the date you placed the request. If you know you won't need an item after a specific date, you can set an earlier date for that hold to expire.

Holds will be cancelled if:

  • the library has an item on order that becomes unavailable
  • all copies of a title are lost or damaged
  • you check out a copy of the same title (e.g. a Best Bet) before your hold is filled
How can I make changes to my holds once I've placed them?

In your account, you can:

  • Make your holds inactive so you won't receive them right away
  • Cancel holds you no longer want
  • Change the pickup location so your holds will be sent to a different branch
  • Change the expiry date if you don't want to receive your holds after a certain date

See help with managing your holds for more information.