Requesting Material

Borrowing and Circulating Information

Placing a Hold Request Online


Placing a request online is easy using the Boston Public Library catalog. You must have a valid library card and a PIN to place requests.

Follow these instructions to place your hold request.

You may choose to have a pick-up location of any Boston Public Library location or many MBLN library locations. (Note that some locations, like schools, are not open to the general public. Please only request a pickup location you know you have access to.)

Not all items are requestable from all locations. Non-circulating items, for example, cannot be requested online. (See below to learn how to request research collection items from the Delivery Desk.) Items designated Local Request may be checked out from the location at which they are held, but may not be requested to fill holds at another pickup location.

When the item you have requested becomes available, you will be sent a notice by phone or email, depending on your recorded preference. Available items are routinely processed in the morning, so same day availablity of holds are extremely rare. Some hold requests require more searching than others as well. For these reasons, please wait until you receive notice that the hold is available before arriving to pick up your requested item.

A maximum of 50 active hold requests (25 for DVD/video formats) may be placed for requestable items. Special formats and items from other MBLN libraries may have smaller limits.

If you wish to place requests for material that the Boston Public Library does not own, please see a librarian at any of our locations or call (617) 536-5400. You may also suggest that we purchase a title or submit an interlibrary loan request online.

Research Collections - Central Library
McKim Building

Most material from our research collections cannot be checked out and must be used in the building. If you wish to use research material, fill out a request form (available in all research departments) and take it to the Delivery Desk. You must have a valid library card to use material in our research collections.

Materials are generally delivered to you within 15-30 minutes after you have submitted the request form, unless the item is in remote storage.

Metro-Boston Library Network Members

Please see this chart regarding requesting material from Metro-Boston Library Network Members.