Curbside lending: Frequently Asked Questions

Most questions about our new curbside lending procedures are answered on this FAQ page, but please contact the Library by email if you need additional assistance.

  1. Questions about appointments
  2. Questions about accounts and request lists
  3. I have a problem with my Library account

1. Questions about appointments

When are curbside lending appointments available?
The Library will offer this service several hours each day, Tuesday through Saturday. Use the online reservation form to see timeslots currently available.

How often can I come? How many appointments can I make?
The Library’s curbside lending slots are limited. Please only make a single appointment between now and the end of the month.

How many books can I pick up?
Prior to your visit, a maximum of 5 (five) available requested items will be checked out to your account.

Do I have to come alone?
No, you may be accompanied by other members of your household. 

Can I pick up books for someone else?
Yes, but you must indicate their Library account details on the appointment form. Make sure their request list has been completed and confirmed, and please bring their card to the Library.

Can I pick up books for more than one person at a time?
Yes, but you must indicate everyone’s Library account details on the appointment form. Make sure all their request lists has been completed and confirmed, and please bring all their cards to the Library.

Do I have to return books in order to pick up more?
No, if your other books are not overdue, and you have not checked out the maximum allowable books for your account type, you do not have to return them. 

I already have the maximum number of books checked out on my account. Can I trade them in for more?
Yes, as long as you return an equivalent number of books during your appointment.

I’m running late for my appointment. Should I still come?
Yes, but please wait in line when you arrive.

I can’t make it to my appointment. Can I reschedule?
Yes, please use the Cancel or Reschedule link in the confirmation email calendar invite.

I only want to return books.
No appointment is necessary for returns, which are accepted Tuesday-Friday, 14h00-17h30.

Can I return books for someone else?
Yes. No appointment is necessary for returns, which are accepted Tuesday-Friday, 14h00-17h30.

Do I need to clean the books I pick up before I read them?
No. Disinfected books were packed by Library staff wearing masks with freshly washed hands. All returned items are quarantined for 10 days before being reintegrated into the Library’s circulating collection. 

Returned books that have a waiting list are fast-track disinfected. The plastic elements are cleaned with 70% isopropyl alcohol, and the book is quarantined for 3 days to disinfect the paper components before being checked out to the next member on the waiting list. More information about library book disinfection recommendations can be read in section 1.2 of this document.

Do I need to clean the books before I return them?
You do not need to clean or wrap books you are returning. However, if you or a household member is or has been sick with the coronavirus, please do not return the books until the infectious period has passed.

2. Questions about accounts and request lists

How do I log into my account?

  1. Go to our online catalog
  2. Click on My Account >> Log in / Register
  3. Enter the 10-digit membership number on your Library card
  4. Enter your PIN. By default, the code is the last 4 digits of the phone number you provided on your membership application. Please email Member Services if you need your PIN reset (please allow 1 working day)

How do I make a request list?

  1. Log into your account
  2. Search our online catalog for the book(s) you’d like to reserve. You may add a maximum of twenty (20) items to your request list
  3. From the title’s record, click “Place Request” then “Submit Request”
  4. If a book is checked out to another member, you will be prompted “Do you still want to place the request?” The number of active requests will indicate how long the waiting period might be. Current waiting periods are significantly longer than normal

How many books can I add to my request list?
You may add a maximum of twenty (20) items to your request list. However, a maximum of five (5) available requested items per account will be checked out to your account per visit.

We recommend you add at least ten (10) titles to your request list, as not all the books you request will be available for borrowing.

We suggest you create a reading list to keep track of books you’d like to read. You can organize a lengthy reading wish list by creating a “Saved Title List” (see below).

Can I place a request for a book marked “quarantine”?
Yes, the book will go back into normal circulation once the 10-day decontamination period has elapsed. Unfortunately, our online catalog cannot indicate the number of quarantine days remaining.

Can I place a request for a book marked “checked out”?
Yes, books that are checked out to other members may be reserved. You will be added to the waiting list.

Can I place a request for a book marked “on hold”?
Yes, books that are on hold for other members may be reserved. You will be added to the waiting list.

How can I consult my request list?

  1. Log into your account
  2. Click on My Account >> Requests 

My request list has a book marked “Request being processed.” Will I receive it?
Not necessarily. “Request being processed” might mean the book is in the midst of its 10-day quarantine. Click on the title, then “Availability”

  1. If the status is “Quarantine” the book is still in quarantine, but you are the first person on the waiting list. Unfortunately, our online catalog cannot indicate the exact day a book will be released from quarantine
  2. If the status is “Available” the book may be checked out to your account for your visit. We are only able to pack a maximum of five (5) books from your request list per visit, however. If more than five of your requests are out of quarantine and on the shelf, we will make a selection for you from the available titles.

My request list has a book marked “Held, ready for pick-up.” Will I receive it?
Not necessarily. “Held, ready for pick-up” means the book is currently being held for you and will be ready for check out on your account only after its 3-day fast-track decontamination period has elapsed.

My request list has a book marked “On waiting list.” Will I receive it?
Not yet. “On waiting list” means that the book is currently checked out to another Library member. You can see your position on the waitlist under the column “Hold Position.” Waiting periods are longer than normal, and we cannot calculate the exact day an item will be ready for you

What if none of my requests can be checked out to me?
We will contact you by email or phone before your appointment if none of the books you requested are available for check-out.

To avoid this, only add books to your request list that are marked “available” in the online catalog. Then, consult your request list to ensure at least one title is listed as “Request being processed.” If you are not the first person to request an available title, you will see your position on the waiting list alongside the status “On waiting list”

It is also possible that a book marked “available” cannot be found by Library staff (books are sometimes misshelved, improperly checked out, or even stolen!). This title will be marked as “missing” and a hold will be placed for it on your account. When the missing book is located, it will be held for you and you will be notified by email.

What if none of my requests from the Children’s Department or the Teen Mezzanine can be checked out to me?
The books you request from our popular Children’s and Teens’ Departments might already be reserved for other members, in which case you will be added to each book’s waiting list.

Celeste and Kirsty, our Children’s and Teens’ Services librarians, will make a selection for you if none of your requested titles are available.

Can I cancel a request before my visit?
Yes. Log into your account and go to your request list. Tick the box next to the title(s) to cancel, then click the green “Cancel Selected” button. 

You may only have 20 requests on your request list at a time (not counting cancelled requests). You can organize a lengthy reading wish list by creating a “Saved Title List” (see below).

A book is checked out to me but I no longer want it in my package.
Once books have been checked out and packaged for your visit, Library staff is unable to make any modifications. You can open the package and return the book on the spot, but we cannot provide you with an alternate book. 

If you no longer plan to come to the Library, please use the Cancel or Reschedule link in the confirmation email calendar invite. We will remove the books from your account (please allow 1-2 working days).

A book on my request list wasn’t packed for me, and is now marked “cancelled” on my request list.
We are packing a maximum of five (5) books per member per visit. If more than 5 books on your list were available, we made a selection. Your remaining requests were cancelled for this visit, but you can add these titles back to your request list for your next visit.

We suggest you create a reading list to keep track of books you’d like to read. You can organize a lengthy wish list of titles by accessing “Saved Title List” on the left sidebar of your account.

A book was on hold for me before the confinement. Can I pick it up?
It is still on hold for you and will be supplied during your pick-up appointment.

I’m on the waiting list for a book. How long until I can pick it up?
Your position on the waiting list can be seen on your account’s request list. Your position on the waitlist is indicated under the column “Hold Position”. Due to the current circumstances, the waiting period is much longer than normal, and we cannot calculate the exact day an item will be ready for you.

A book on hold for you will not be passed along to the next person on the waiting list until you’ve been given ample opportunity to pick it up. We have increased the number of days a book is held as we can only accommodate a restricted number of curbside appointments per day. 

We are fast-tracking the decontamination process for returned books with a waiting list, but we are not placing any time pressure on members with in-demand items checked out to their accounts to return them to the Library. Please be patient, as certain books may not be returned for some time (should the current borrower be out of the city or country, still confined, or not in good enough health to return books, for example).

I have a book on hold that I no longer want to borrow.
Please cancel it from your request list or email us before making an appointment. If the hold is cancelled less than 2 days before your appointment, the book might still be supplied.

How long can I keep my books?
Go to My Account >> Items Out to see your books’ due dates, and the number of 3-week renewals remaining. We have increased the number of renewals per book for all members, and even books that have a waiting list can be renewed. We understand that it will be difficult for members to come to the Library regularly during the coming months, and we appreciate everyone’s patience with the longer delays.

No books taken out before the confinement are due until 1 June 2020 or later. If you receive an overdue notice but are unable to return your books, please email us so we can adjust your books’ due dates.

What’s a saved title list?
You can organize a lengthy wish list of titles by accessing “Saved Title List” on the left sidebar of your account. From a title’s record, click “Add to List” >> [List name] or [New List] to add the book to a custom title list. You may create more than one saved title list.

Library staff cannot access “Saved Title Lists” so be sure to click “Place Request” on the books you’d like us to check out on your account. 

Is a saved title list the same as a request list?
No. Library staff cannot access “Saved Title Lists”, so be sure to click “Place Request” on the books you’d like us to check out on your account.

A request list is limited to twenty (20) titles and requests may be cancelled by Library staff (see above for an explanation of exceptional cancellation scenario).

Can I keep track of books I’ve checked out in the past?
If you’d like to keep track of what you’ve checked out, turn on your “Reading History.”

  1. Click on My Account >> My Record >>Contact Information and Preferences
  2. Tick the box next to “Maintain reading history” at the bottom of the right-hand column. It’s easy to miss, so look closely!

Your reading history is not retroactive. Only newly checked out books will be listed. Library staff cannot access “Reading Histories.”

Can you provide reading recommendations?
The Library staff is always happy to help you select books, but it may take us longer to reply to your email than usual. Here are some resources Library members can use for reading recommendations:

  • NoveList is an online readers’ advisory database which assists fiction readers in finding new authors and titles
  • Our Children’s & Teens’ librarians have prepared reading lists on a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction topics. Send us an email and we’ll forward you a list
  • Read current book reviews in The New York Times, The Economist, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker and other magazines on our RBdigital e-magazine platform

3. I have a problem with my Library account

I forgot my Library card number / I forgot my password.
Please email Member Services if you need your Library card number sent to you, or if you need your password (PIN) reset (please allow 1 working day).

My membership has expired.
Please renew it online. Once you get confirmation that your account has been reactivated, you can make a request list and schedule a pick-up appointment.

I have fines or lost book fees on my account.
All overdue fines accrued during the confinement or the deconfinement periods will be waived. However, fines that accrued prior to 15 March 2020 are still posted to members’ accounts, are considered due, and should be paid online.

Fees for lost or damaged materials remain the responsibility of the member, whether accrued prior, during, or after the confinement. These fees should also be paid online.

A book I returned is still listed on my account.
Please allow 48 hours after your visit for your account to be updated. If the item is still listed on your account after 2 working days, please send us an email.

I have books to return but I can’t come to the Library yet.
Please hold onto your books for now, and contact us if they need to be renewed. We are not charging any overdue fines during the confinement and the deconfinement periods. If you or a household member is or has been sick with the coronavirus, please do not return the books until the infectious period has passed.

I have books to return but I’ve left the country.
Please contact us by email to make arrangements for their return or replacement.