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 order to place a hold. There is no charge for placing holds. Adult cardholders (18+) 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 100 holds at one time. This includes holds that are active, inactive, in transit, and ready for pickup. Please note that you can borrow a maximum of 50 items at one time.

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
  • Book Club Sets
  • Digital Equipment
  • 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
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 blue "Place Hold" button beside it.

Click on the Place Hold button and enter 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. You can change it by selecting Hold Options and clicking on the arrow on the right.

You can also change the expiry date of the hold. The default is two years, but if you do not need an item after a certain date, you can set it so that it won't come in when you don't need it anymore.

Once 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. Select the Holds heading to see everything you have on hold. You will see any holds that are ready for pickup, in transit, or still on hold.

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. The number of copies owned by the library is displayed below your position.

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 display in the Holds section of your account online as soon as the item becomes available. It will also be indicated in your phone call or email notice which you will receive the day after the hold becomes available. 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. Adult cardholders (18+) will be charged $1.00 for each hold not checked out or cancelled by the pickup date. If you are unable to pick up your hold, you must cancel it before 9:00 p.m. on the expiry date to avoid the charge.

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:

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.