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About Holds

  • Place a hold to reserve checked-out material, or to have an item transferred to another library location.
  • You may have 30 items on hold at a time.
  • You have 5 days to pick up a hold once you’ve been notified.
  • You must have the requestor’s library card to check out a hold.

What can be placed on hold?

Holds can be placed through the library catalog on all items except:

  • Reference materials
  • Magazines
  • Kids board books
  • eCollection items
  • Hot Picks titles
  • Items at Plaza Branch Library

How do I place a hold?

Holds can be placed through the library catalog:

  • Locate your item by title of the item you want.
  • Click on the “Place Hold” button and log in to your account.
  • Choose your pickup location and submit hold request.
  • Problems? Call 703-228-5990
  • Holds can also be placed by telephone or at any library location.

How will I be notified about my hold?

We prefer to send notices by email. If you have opted for telephone notification, automated phone calls are made daily between noon to 3 p.m.  and between 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. We will attempt to notify you up to five times.

How can I receive text alerts on my mobile phone telling me when holds are ready?

  • Log into your Library account and choose “Account Settings.”
  • Switch “Receive SMS/Text Messages,” to On, and enter your mobile phone number.
  • Save changes by clicking “Update Contact Information.”

How do I pick up a hold?

Hold items are kept on open, self-service shelves at all Library locationsReminder: you must have the requestor’s library card to check out a hold.

How can I check the status of my hold?

  • Log in to your account.
  • Click on the “Titles on Hold” section.
  • View the request status; it will reflect your position in queue.
  • As your hold approaches, these statuses may show: “In Transit”, “Hold Being Shelved”, “Ready, must pick up by XXXX.”
  • Problems? Call 703-228-5990

How can I cancel my hold online?

  • Login to your account.
  • Click on the “Titles on Holds” section.
  • Check the “Cancel” box next to each title.
  • Click “Save Changes.”
  • Cancel holds that are ready for pick-up using this form.
  • Problems? Call 703-228-5990
  • Holds can also be cancelled in person, by telephone, or by email.

I am going out of town. How can I avoid missing my holds?

You can “freeze” any of your holds that are in the “Holds – Not Ready” section of your account.

  • To freeze your hold: Login to your account, view your holds, check the “Freeze Hold” button next to each title, then wait for the confirmation screen.
  • A frozen hold will continue to move up in the queue. If the hold reaches #1, it will remain there.
  • The “Freeze Hold” button does not appear when:
    • Items are listed under the “Holds – Ready” section of your account.
    • The item is “In Transit” to fill your hold.
    • You are first in the queue for that item.

How do I release my frozen holds?

Uncheck the “Thaw Hold” button next to each title, and await the confirmation screen.

How do I request a shelf check?

Shelf checks are non-automated holds on available material for same-day pickup or transfer. Please place your hold online whenever possible.

  • Call a Library Location during business hours to request a shelf check
  • Be prepared to wait on the line while library staff check the shelves and pull the item
  • Shelf-checked items will be held at the library for 48 hours, or transferred to another library for pickup
  • Transfers between libraries may take up to three days. You are not notified when the item arrives, but you may call the pickup location to inquire