Back to Frequently Asked Questions

How do I reserve a book?

Items at the Branch Libraries

To place and cancel holds on items, and/or check your library card record you need the barcode on the back of your library card and your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Your PIN is usually the last 4 digits of your phone number unless you specified a different number when you registered for your NYPL card.

If you're unsure of your PIN, call your local branch or call the Mid-Manhattan Library's Registration Desk (212-576-0015).

To place a hold, begin by selecting CATALOGS. It is only possible to reserve titles in the catalog that have circulating copies available or on order. If the computer allows you to place a hold select REQUEST ITEM, enter your barcode, then your PIN.

By clicking on MY ACCOUNT and logging in you may see the status of your hold.

The basic procedures using LEOTELNET are the same. A full set of keyboard instructions are shown at the bottom of the screens (i.e., type C for copy status; type PH for Place Hold).

If there are no holds on the item, there is another way of having it held for you. After you have done a search in the LEO catalog and learned which NYPL branches have the item, you may call a branch that has it and request a shelf check. If the item is on the shelf, the branch can either hold it for you to pick up there or can send it to the NYPL location of your choice. Again, you will need your barcode number to process your request.

Items at the Research Libraries

Call Ahead Service

You may phone or e-mail requests for closed stack and offsite materials at the Humanities & Social Sciences Library and the Science, Industry & Business Library (some limitations apply). Exact call numbers are required. Contact the appropriate Library for more information:

Humanities & Social Sciences Library (212) 930-0825

e-mail: callaheadhssl@nypl.org

Science, Industry & Business Library (212) 592-7018

e-mail: callaheadsibl@nypl.org


When material stored offsite is requested, the material is held on reserve for one week after it arrives at the Library. If needed, materials may be held for longer periods of time. Visiting researchers and scholars can also request other materials to be held on reserve and thus readily accessible for use over the course of several days or a week.