Express Pickup - FAQs

Placing a Hold

How do I place an item on hold?

Go to the San José Public Library website to put books, movies, or music on hold:

  • At our website, select the Log In / My SJPL button or the Log In button in the upper right corner of any page on our site.
  • Select the Log In / Register button.
  • Enter your library card number or username and your PIN. (The first time you log in, you'll go through a few steps to register your account. During this process you'll be asked to make a username.)
  • Search for your item in the catalog.
  • Select the Place a Hold button. Please note that holds are only available for pickup at some locations now. Because there are so many requests, it may take longer than usual to fulfill your request. We thank you for your patience.
  • You can also call us at 408-808-2000 Monday – Saturday from 11 AM – 6 PM for assistance in placing a request.
Where do I pick up my hold?
When your hold is ready, your item will be held at the Express Pickup location that you selected. All locations are open for Express Pickup except Mt. Pleasant branch. You can change the hold pickup location before the hold is ready by logging into your account and viewing your Dashboard.
How many holds can I place?
You can place 10 holds on an account if you have a Temporary Card, 30 holds on an account with a Full Access Card, 5 holds for a Student Card, and 30 holds for an Educator Card.
Can I place a hold on items in person when I arrive at one of the locations offering Express Pickup?
No. Customers can only place their holds on the website or by phone. Customers will not be able to place a hold in person at this time.
Do you provide same-day pick up if the item is available at the Express Pickup location?
We cannot guarantee same-day processing of holds. For the safety of our customers and staff, we are following safety guidelines before distributing materials.
How long will it take to receive my hold?
Due to the volume of requests received, processing and fulfilling of requests may take longer than usual. The status of your request can be viewed by logging into your account online.
Yes, you can place LINK+ requests. Due to quarantines, it may take close to 10 days to get LINK+ holds fulfilled. The $1 per day late fees will not be charged during this time. During our closure we will accept LINK+ returns in the book drops. Traditional Interlibrary Loan requests are not accepted at this time.
What other materials are currently unavailable to request?
Easy Readers, Paperback Picture Books and Board Books cannot be requested individually, but you can request a bundle of items in these formats by completing our Express Pickup Bundles Request Form. Tool Kits, Wee Play and Learn kits, References and Mount Pleasant collections cannot be requested.

Library Cards / Accounts

What if I can't remember my library card number and/or my PIN?
If you forgot your library card number but your account is still valid, log into your account by entering the username you created when you registered on our new catalog. If you forgot your PIN, reset it using the "Forgot your PIN?" link. If you still cannot log into your account, please contact library staff by chat, phone or email. You will be asked to verify personal information to help staff find the correct account.
What if my card is expired? Can I reserve items?
Yes. Most library cards have been extended through July 1, 2021. If you need more help with your card, please contact us by chat, phone, text, or email during Express Pickup hours.
What if I misplaced my card? Can I still place a hold?
Yes, you may still reserve materials but you will need to contact staff online or by phone at 408-808-2000. You will be asked to verify information on your account so that staff will be able to locate your account.
What if I don't have a card?
To register for a new card, sign up for an eLibrary Card. Convert your card to a Temporary Card by completing an additional form. You will receive your new card number by email within 1-2 business days and a physical card by postal mail within 7-10 business days.
I signed up for an eLibrary card. Can I use it to place holds?
If you signed up for an eLibrary card and want to change it to a physical card, please fill out the Temporary Card form. You will receive your new card number by email within 1-2 business days and a physical card by postal mail within 7–10 business days.
When I tried to place a hold, it says there are unresolved issues and to speak to staff?
If you are unable to place a hold online, contact us by chat, phone, or email for help.
What if I don't have a computer or internet access at home? How else can I place a hold?
Customers can contact us Monday – Saturday from 11 AM – 6 PM by phone via 408-808-2000.
Where can I go for Express Pickup service?

All library locations except Mount Pleasant Branch Library are now offering Express Pickup.


How will I be contacted if a hold is ready for pick up?
If you have provided us with an email address, we will send an email notification when your item is ready for pick up at the designated Express Pickup location. Log into your account to check the status of your hold items.
What if I don't have an email address?
We will notify you by telephone that your hold is ready. Please note that the telephone notification system may not work with all phone systems (answering machines, voicemail, etc.) We recommend that you enter an email address. You can also log into your account to check the status of your hold or call your Express Pickup location or 408-808-2000.
What if I did not receive a message?
Please check the email address in your account. Check your Junk Mail folder or Spam folder to see if it was sent there. Also add as a known sender so the messages will not be sent to your Junk Mail or Spam folders. You can always Log into your account to check the status of your hold items.

Picking up my Holds

How do I schedule an Appointment to pick up Holds?
  • Once you receive confirmation that your item(s) are available for pick up, make an express pickup appointment online.
  • Choose the Express Pickup location where your items are being held.
  • Select any available appointment time and enter your information.
  • Only one appointment is needed to arrange holds pickup for multiple library accounts.
  • If you need assistance, please call 408-808-2000, Monday through Saturday from 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM.
  • You must have a library card membership to place holds and check out physical materials from the library. If you have an eLibrary card, you can change it to a Temporary Card, by completing the Temporary Card form. To register for a new card, get an eLibrary card, then complete the Temporary Card form.
  • Please DO NOT make an appointment until you have received a hold notification from the library or have checked your account online to determine that your item(s) are available for pickup. The hold notification form will include a link to make an appointment.
  • To cancel an appointment, follow the link in your confirmation email.
  • If you missed your appointment, please call 408-808-2000 to check if your items are still available for pickup. If so, you can make another appointment online.
  • If you make an appointment and there are no item(s) available to be picked up, the appointment will be cancelled.
How long will my items stay on the hold shelf? What if I missed the deadline for pickup?
Materials will be held for 10 days. Any items not picked up after 10 days will be pulled from the hold shelf, so other customers can check them out.
When should I let the library know that I am picking up a hold?
  • Text or call when you get to the library.
  • Look for signs with the text or phone number to reach staff.
  • The signs will tell you the steps you need to take to pick up your items when you get to your branch.
What if I don't have a cell phone when I arrive to pick up my holds?
Before leaving home, write "I'm here to pick up my holds" and your name and library card number on a sheet of paper. Locate the door near the Express Pickup signs, knock and hold up the hand-written sign to show staff. Staff will respond and proceed to help you.
What is a Grab & Go Express Pickup location?
  • At a Grab & Go location, there is no need to contact staff when you arrive.
  • Go to the designated area (one person at a time).
  • Grab the order with your name attached and go!
Do I need to go into the branch to pick up my hold?
No, for the safety of our staff and customers please wait in your car or, if biking or walking, wait at the designated location until your items are ready to be picked up.
What if I have holds on multiple cards?
Please make sure to have all the card numbers and give that information to staff so they can get all of the materials and process them together.
Does the person who the card belongs to need to be present to pick up the items?
They do not need to be present, but please have their card with you when you pick up the hold.
What should I do if I have mobility issues and I cannot pickup my materials at the curb?

Staff assistance will be provided to those who need help at the pickup location. Please inform staff when you text or call to pick up your items to receive instructions of where to park. Pop your trunk so that staff may place your items in your trunk. Please remain inside your vehicle and wait for staff until it is safe to leave. If you are unable to pop your trunk please roll down your window.

We are exploring other delivery options. Please contact us for additional support.

Will staff be able to answer questions I have about my account when I come to pick up my holds?
No, for the health and safety of customers and staff, we will not be able to provide in-person assistance with any account questions or issues you may have. You can always contact us by chat, phone, or email.
How long are items checked out?
Items are checked out for 3 weeks. However, items can be renewed 3 times and will automatically renew 3 days before they are due unless another customer has put a hold on it. You will get an email about the status of your items three days before they are due. You can always check the due date of your items by logging into your account.

Returning Materials

When do I need to return items that I borrowed before the closure?
All checked out library items had their due dates paused. Beginning June 30, 2020, those due dates were longer paused. You can review the status of your checked out items via your online account. If you have more questions about returning your items, please call 408-808-2000.
How do I return items?
You can return San José Public Library materials in the book drop at your nearest location. Please note that all returned items are quarantined to ensure your safety and may not be checked in immediately.
Are you charging late fees on materials returned late?
No, there will be no late fees during this closure.
Do I have to return my items to the same location that I picked it up from?
No, you can put them in the book drop at any location.
No. We ask that you return them during our Express Pickup hours. Upon arriving at an express pick up location, call staff to let them know you need to return a Link+ or ILL item. Staff will provide you with instructions for how we will handle the return.
How do I return Wee Play & Learn, Books & More, or other kits?
We ask that you return them during our Express Pickup hours. Upon arriving at an express pick up location, call staff to let them know you need to return a kit. Staff will provide you with instructions for how we will handle the return.
Can I return materials at any time?
Please return items to the book drop. All San José Public Library locations' book drops are available 24/7.
What if I have fines on my account from before the library closure?
You are responsible for fines accrued before the closure. We are not able to process payments at the Express Pickup locations, but payments can be made online by logging into your account. You are allowed to place holds during the library closure regardless of your fines. Please contact us if you need assistance with your account or with placing holds.
What is the library doing to protect my safety and the safety of library staff?
  • All returned items are quarantined to ensure your safety. Please do not use disinfecting wipes on items.
  • The San José City Council passed an ordinance requiring members of the public to wear face coverings when outside of their homes including:
    • Inside of any business (indoors or outdoors)
    • Waiting in line to enter a business or retrieve items with curbside pickup
      • Exceptions include children 6 years old or younger; anyone who has trouble breathing, is incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance; anyone who has been advised by a medical professional not to wear a face covering.
  • Social distancing guidelines will be in place at the Express Pickup locations.
No. We are not accepting any donations at this time.

Express Pickup

Check out physical items with our outdoor pickup service. It's easy, contactless, and convenient. Open Monday through Saturday from 1–6 PM.

Express Pickup Appointments

Express Pickup is available by appointment. Book your appointment here. You can still just walk up at most locations.

Express Pickup Bundle Request Form

Bundles of children's books are available for Express Pickup. Limit three.

SJPL eLibrary Card

Not an SJPL member? Apply for our FREE eLibrary Card and start accessing our online resources.