Howard County Library System will begin contactless pickup of items on hold at all six branches beginning Monday, June 29.

Hours will be 10 am to 6 pm, Monday through Saturday, with the exception of furlough days (July 3, 17, 31 and August 14, 28) and July 4.

How will it work?

  1. Place items on hold.
    • Search the Library’s catalog for titles of interest.
    • Use your HCLS-registered library card or A+ student account (for HCPSS students) and PIN to log in and place requests, selecting your preferred pickup location.
    • You may also make requests by phone by calling your HCLS branch during business hours 10 am – 6 pm, Monday – Saturday, with the exception of furlough days (July 3, 17, 31 and August 14, 28) and July 4.
  2. Wait for notification, then reserve a pickup day and time.
    • You will receive a notice by email, US mail, text, or phone (depending on your notification preference) when your holds are available for pickup.
    • Beginning June 29, fill out the Contactless Holds Pickup Request form or call your pickup branch to make an appointment for contactless pickup. If you provided an email address, you will receive a confirmation message.
    • Prior to your appointment, HCLS staff will locate your items, check them out to your account, and bag them. The bag will be labeled with your name and placed on a table in the lobby of the pickup branch.
  3. At the scheduled date and time, pick up your holds at the designated branch.
    • When you arrive, maintain at least 6 feet of social distance from others. Face coverings are required.
    • If you notice another customer in the lobby, please remain outside until the previous customer has departed. Then approach the table and locate the bag labeled with your name. If your items are in multiple bags, they will be labeled as such (for example, 1 of 2, 2 of 2).
    • Grab your bag and go – items have already been checked out to you. Your receipt will be in the bag.

Frequently Asked Questions

Our team has been working tirelessly to prepare for a phased reopening. In addition to ordering PPE (personal protective equipment) and other needed materials, we have been preparing our reopening playbook and conducting site visits to plan physical distancing protocols. Our playbook outlines a phased approach that keeps the safety of both staff and customers paramount.


Members of our team returned to branches on Thursday, June 18 to begin preparing for contactless pickup. Staff received PPE and are scheduled in rotating four-hour shifts to minimize time in branches.

As we move forward, numerous uncertainties remain. However, we do know the return to our branches will not be a return to a pre-pandemic environment. Decisions about how and when to move to the next phase will depend on current health and safety guidelines and the availability and procurement of PPE. The health, safety, and well-being of our staff and customers has been and will continue to be our top priority.


Scott E


  1. Love your blog. I’m worried that the picture on this piece will be misleading as it lists regular pre-covid hours on the sign. Anyway you might be able to use a different pic? Thanks!

    • Thanks for reading the blog. It was the only photo of a library in Howard County I could find in my photo collection. If I come across another photo I may try and replace it.

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