Catalog Holds: Frequently Asked Questions
- Where's the Place Hold link?
- What's my customer ID?
- What's a PIN? How can I get one?
- I accidentally selected the wrong pick-up location. Can I change it?
- Why didn’t I hear that my hold was ready to be picked up?
- I signed up with my email address, but I'm not receiving email notices when my book is available. Why?
- How can I check the status of my hold request?
- I got a notice that my hold is available, but I'm out of town. How can I get more time to pick it up?
- I got a notice that my hold is available. I gave up weeks ago and bought the book from Amazon.com. How do I get rid of the hold?
1. Where's the Place Hold link?
The Place Hold link only appears when viewing a single item record (not a list of titles). First search the catalog, and then, if you have a list of matches, view details of an individual title. The Place Hold link will display in the top right corner of the individual record.
2. What's my customer ID?
Your customer ID is the number below the barcode on your DC Public Library card.
3. What's a PIN? How can I get one?
A PIN is a Personal Identification Number. It provides a measure of protection for your privacy. You won't be able to place holds or view checkouts, bills or pending holds without a PIN. In the interest of protecting your privacy, we cannot reveal PINs over the telephone or via e-mail. Obtain one in person at your nearest DC Public Library location by presenting identification.
4. I accidentally selected the wrong pick-up location. Can I change it?
Unfortunately, you cannot change the pick-up location once the hold is placed. You can, however, delete the hold in My Account and place it again, making sure to select the desired location. (This functionality will be working in the new catalog soon. Until then, if you need to cancel a hold, visit the old online catalog.
5. Why didn’t I get a message that my hold was ready to be picked up?
Notification of available holds is delivered via e-mail. Make sure we have your correct e-mail address when you next visit your nearest library. Also note that popular titles may have longer queues of customers waiting for an available copy.
6. I signed up with my e-mail address, but I'm not receiving e-mail notices when my book is available. Why?
There are a number of reasons that you may not receive a notice by e-mail:
- Data entry error: We may have keyed in your e-mail address incorrectly. Please verify that your account information is correct on your next visit to the library.
- E-mail out of date. We may have an old e-mail address on file. Please verify that your account information is correct.
- SPAM filters. Some e-mail providers block incoming mail unless you have approved the sender. If you have such filters, please add firstname.lastname@example.org to your list of allowed e-mail senders.
- Same day pick-up. If you happen to check out an item on the same day it came in for your hold, the e-mail notice will not be sent that evening.
- Library error: A misstep in processing an item could cause your notice not to be sent. We’re sorry.
- Computer error: Unfortunately, even computers aren't perfect.
Please let us know if you have problems receiving notices, and we'll try to fix the problem before your next notice goes out.
7. How can I check the status of my hold request?
In the catalog, you can see a list of your pending holds, your place in the holds queue, your stated pick-up library and whether a hold might be available by selecting from the menu options on the right side of catalog page. You can also see a list of your checkouts and any bills that might be on your account.
8. I got a notice that my hold is available, but I'm out of town. How can I get more time to pick it up?
Call the neighborhood library that you selected as your pick-up location and ask them nicely for a little more time. In the new catalog, we will soon allow you to delay a hold until a date that you know you will be in town.
9. I got a notice that my hold is available. I gave up weeks ago and bought the book from Amazon.com. How do I get rid of the hold?
Unfortunately, especially with popular titles, the library cannot always fulfill a hold request soon enough to satisfy every customer need. Unclaimed items on hold generally wait 10 days before being made available to the next customer. If you want to help get a book to the next customer sooner, you can reply to the e-mail notice (please include the original message so we'll know what book to pull) or —if the hold is still pending— you can delete the hold in the catalog under My Account. Thanks!
Deciphering Common Error Messages
"User not found."
This message is generally encountered when a user ID is entered incorrectly. Are you using the complete barcode number that is printed on your DC Public Library card? Are you entering this number without spaces? If you encounter this message, please try again.
"Please enter your correct PIN."
If you do not remember your PIN (Personal Identification Number) or never knew what it was, please visit your nearest library for assistance. To protect your privacy, PINs cannot be revealed by e-mail or by telephone.
"You probably haven't selected a pick-up library. Please try again."
There is no longer a default pick-up location when placing a hold in the catalog. You must make a deliberate choice about where we should send an item once it becomes available.
"You may not place a hold on an item in another library."
You cannot place a hold on an item that is only held by the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (LBPH), located at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. Items in this collection are subject to special circulation conditions to serve a special population.
"User already has a hold on this material."
You may have forgotten that you already placed a hold for this title. To see what items you have already requested, enter the My Account area of the catalog and select Review My Account to view a list of pending and available holds. You can also see a list of your checkouts and any bills that might be on your account.