Frequently Asked Questions About Reopening

Can I now return my library items?
Yes, and to any BPL 24-hour outside return drop box.

I returned an item a few days ago. Why is it still showing on my account?
All returned items are in quarantine for 72-hours before check-in. We are currently processing a large backlog of returned items. Check-in and shelving takes longer than usual as we work under new health & safety protocols.

Please allow at least 7 weekdays to process your returns before contacting us. We will reply to individual inquiries only after this period, if a returned item remains on your account. Remember: There are no fines charged for overdue items.

Why did I receive an overdue notice for an item I already returned?
We apologize for any confusion due to a courtesy or overdue notice you may have received after returning and item. Due to system constraints, automated notifications continue to send as usual. As noted above, please allow at least 7 weekdays (excluding holidays) to process returned items before contacting us.

When can I pick up my holds?
Open hours at Aldershot, Central, New Appleby, and Tansley Woods:

  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 11am to 7pm; Sat 9am to 5pm
  • Friday, Sunday, Monday: Closed

My local branch is still closed. Where do I pick-up my hold items?
Alton, Brant Hills, and Kilbride customers: your temporary holds pick-up location is Tansley Woods

IMPORTANT - The automated notification will still identify your home branch as your pick-up location for any holds placed before May 26, even if your branch remains closed. Unfortunately, this is something we cannot fix. Please pick-up at your new holds pick-up location.

How many days do I have to get my ready holds?
You will have 8 open days to retrieve your holds once you've been notified by email or phone.

I can’t pick-up my holds. Can a friend do this for me?
Yes. Please give your library card or card number to your friend or family member so that we know you have given them permission to pick-up your hold items.

Why can't I choose my local branch as my item pick-up location when placing a hold or requesting a title for purchase?
This is a temporary limitation while some branches remain closed. As we reopen other branches, the options where you can pick-up library items will change.

I have an eCard number. Is this okay to use when I come to pick up my hold items?
Yes. Please have your 14-digit library card number handy when you come to collect and check-out physical items.

How can I borrow hard books and DVDs now?
There are two ways to borrow print books and DVDs right now:

  1. Place a hold: Browse our online catalogue and ‘place a hold’ on the item you want to borrow. You will be added to the wait list. When an item becomes available to borrow, we’ll contact you by email or phone, and tell you that it’s ready to pick up. If you need help placing a hold, please call us Mon-Sat, 9am to 5pm, or contact us online.
  2. Visit a branch that is open for limited walk-in library services: As of August 11, Aldershot and New Appleby branches are open for browsing shelves & borrowing, self-serve holds pick-up, and computers by appointment. As a courtesy to others who may be waiting, please limit your library visit to an hour or less.

What’s the loan period when the library reopens?
The regular loan period applies to all physical items borrowed after reopening.

When are items due?
All physical items on loan to you when we closed in March, including interlibrary loans, are due back on September 8. No overdue fines will be charged.

We understand if you don’t want to come into a public space—or can't get to the library at this time. But if you can, and you are finished with the item, please keep in mind that someone else may be waiting for it.

Will the books/DVDs be sanitized before I borrow them?
Unfortunately, we can't promise a 'sanitized' or 'disinfected' library experience at any time, not just during this pandemic. Libraries are high-touch environments and print books do not like liquid cleaning agents.

The health and disease experts we are monitoring agree that the best solution for libraries is to quarantine items when they are returned to us, and to have cleaning and materials handling protocols in place for staff. Health officials recommend a 24-hour quarantine, but we are opting for a more conservative 72-hour period at this time.

Do I have to wear a face mask when I come to the library?
All members of the public must wear a face mask while inside the library as set out in City of Burlington’s Mask By-law, which comes into effect on July 20. On arrival, unmasked visitors will be provided with a free disposable mask to wear. Until then, customers are encouraged to wear a face mask for their own safety when physical distancing in public is challenging to maintain.

Halton Region Public Health Commissioner and Medical Officer, Dr. Hamidah Meghani continues to promote that the most effective interventions for reducing the spread of COVID-19 are physical distancing, hand and respiratory hygiene, and staying home when ill.

Can I bring my child to the library when you reopen?
Coming to the library to pick-up hold items during this reopening phase is a controlled ’in & out’ visit. There may be long lineups outside, and there will be barriers inside to restrict any exploration. Quite a different experience than your child might expect. If they do come with you, please be mindful of the strictly transactional nature of this phase.

Why do I have to lineup outside to get my holds?
In order to practice safe physical distancing, keep our common and ‘high touch’ areas extra clean, and have adequate space for all of the items on hold, we need to restrict access inside the branches and control the flow of traffic.

When will library programs start again?
Unfortunately, it’s too soon to venture a guess. Much depends on the status of the COVID-19 outbreak and municipal and provincial directions. On our website, we will continue to offer What’s Live Online information, Burlington Reads @Home—and an online version of our summer reading program for all ages.

I want to borrow a magazine but I can’t place a hold. What do I do?
Print magazines are not available to borrow during this reopening phase. You can borrow online magazines anytime through RB Digital.

Can I send a document to print and pick up the pages?
Send-in/walk-in printing and faxing are not available during this reopening phase; however, you can reserve a public computer in advance at an open location to have access to printing. See Related Link below.

Can I use the library WiFi?
Yes, the public WiFi is on and accessible outside the buildings. Just a reminder: the library WiFi is a public network and is never secured. Users accept the risks whenever they use BPL’s WiFi to access the Internet. If you choose to access the WiFi, please respect municipal and provincial physical distancing orders at all time.

I can’t pause some of my holds that I don’t want right now. What do I do?
If you are first in line to get the next available copy or if the hold item is ready for pick-up or 'in transit'—you cannot pause the hold. We suggest that you first add the title to your For Later Shelf, and then cancel your hold. You can place a hold later when you are ready to borrow the item.

I want to borrow books but my library card is blocked. What do I do?
Before you come to the library, please pay your outstanding balance through your My BPL account, or contact us at 905.639.3611 ext 1202 for help.

I think my library card is expired. What do I do?
Please give us a call Monday through Saturday, 9am to 5pm, or contact us anytime online.

Will the library be open as a cooling station during declared heat warnings?
Unfortunately, Central and Tansley Woods will not serve as cooling stations during this reopening phase.

I have questions about reopening. Who do I contact?
You can call us Monday through Saturday, 9am to 5pm, or contact us online and we’ll reply within three week days. No phone or email service on holidays.

Reserve a library computer

City of Burlington Mask By-law 62-2020

How to Pause a Hold step-by-step

READ a magazine online

Contact Us