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Placing and managing holds

Placing a hold

To request an item in our catalog, you can place a checkmark in the box next to the title on your search results, and, in the Select an Action dropdown, choose Place Holds. You can also place holds from the details screen for a title.

You must have an MCPL library card and PIN. You will not be able to place holds if you owe $25 or more. See Paying Fines and Fees.

How will I know when my hold is available?

When the item arrives at your chosen pick-up branch, you will receive a notice by mail or by email. Register for email notification.

You will have 10 days to pick it up before it is removed from the hold shelf.

You can also check the status of your holds online from My Account in our catalog. If a hold is at your pick-up library for you, it is displayed as "Available."

Fee for holds not picked up within 10 days

If an available hold is not picked up within 10 days, the item will be removed from the hold shelf and you will be charged $1. Cancel unneeded holds by using My Account online, by contacting Ask-a-Librarian at 240-777-0001, or by email.

Maximum number of holds

You may have up to 30 hold requests (including interlibrary loan requests) on your account at one time.

Suspending, cancelling, or editing holds

You may want to suspend holds if you can't pick up items or use them during a particular time period. While your hold is suspended, you will continue to move up the hold queue, but the title will not become available for you.

Go to the catalog, and log in to My Account at the top right corner. Click on My Account, and then choose the Holds tab. You'll see choices to suspend holds, cancel the suspension, change pick-up branches, or cancel holds.

How long will it take to fill my hold if the title is available on a library shelf?

Library staff pull items to fill hold requests once a day. If you need a title immediately, you should call the branch that has it. A staff member will look for the item and either place it on the hold shelf or send it to another branch you choose. Transferring an available item between branches takes 3 to 5 days.

Holds on new entertainment DVDs

The library purchases many copies of each popular DVD title. A few copies of every title will be filling customer holds, but, for the first 90 days a DVD title is owned, most will be non-holdable copies, available to people browsing the library's shelves. Instead of moving around the county in delivery trucks and awaiting pick-up on hold shelves, the non-holdable copies are in constant use. After 90 days in the system, all copies will begin to fill customer holds.

When I try to place a hold, I get a "privilege expired" message.

Renew your library account. If there is no mailing address change and if your account is free of fines or fees, you can renew your account from My Account online or by calling Ask-a-Librarian at 240-777-0001. 

If your address has changed, proof of address must be presented at a library.

If money is owed on the account, it must be paid before the account can be renewed. See Paying Fines and Fees.

Holds on downloadable titles

Holds on our downloadable e-books and audiobooks will not show on your regular library account. See your Maryland Digital eLibrary account to manage those holds. The $1 fee for holds not picked up does not apply to the downloadable services.

What if MCPL doesn't own the title I need?

You can make a purchase suggestion. Or our Interlibrary Loan service may be able to borrow it from another library system for you.

I need help.

Our librarians are happy to help you. Contact your branch or Ask-a-Librarian.