FAQ about Self-Service Holds

How will I find the item I requested?

Items will be shelved alphabetically by last name using a unique code for each patron. Items will be shelved spine or title down to protect privacy.

What is my code?

The first 4 letters of your last name, plus the first 3 letters of your first name.

Example: WASH

What if I prefer that my holds are not put in a public area?  Can they be held behind the staff desk like in the past?

If you do not wish to have your holds in the new location, you may ask us to place your holds behind the desk and ask staff to retrieve them when you come in to pick up your items.

How will I know when something I requested has come in?

You will receive an email, a text message, or a phone call when your item is ready for pickup.

How long do I have to pick something up?

Seven days.

How do I check out my item?

You may check out your own materials using our Self Checkout station located next to the hold shelves, or wait at the desk for a staff person to check you out.

How do you keep patrons from checking out other people’s holds? 

Our computer system will only allow holds to be checked-out to the Library accounts with which they were placed. This means that in order to check out your holds using the self-service machines, you will have to have your Library card.

Can I check out holds for my spouse, child, or someone else using the self-checkout station? 

Yes, but only if you have that person’s Library card.

What do I do if I can’t find my Library card? 

You can get a replacement card for $1 at the Service Desk

If I know my Library card number, can I type it in by hand at the self-serve checkout terminals?


Why did the Library make the change to self-service holds? 

Self-service holds have become standard in Dane County libraries over the last few years, including libraries in Madison, Middleton, Sun Prairie, Verona, Fitchburg, and others. We started moving to self-serve because it’s more efficient and reduces patron wait time for check-out. Self-service is also a growing trend in libraries across the country, and many of our patrons requested it.

How do I pay my fines? Does this mean that there will be no staff at Circulation to help me? 

Absolutely not – the service desk will remain fully staffed and available to provide any assistance you need, such as placing holds, paying fines, helping with technology, or checking out.

How does self-service affect Library staff? Will jobs be cut? 

These changes do not affect Library staff levels. But utilizing self-service does allow our staff to get more work done and to provide more in-depth assistance to patrons that need additional time with a staff member.

Will the new library that is being planned use self-service holds and checkout?

Yes. The plan for the new library is to have self-service hold shelves and to provide additional self-checkout stations in various locations throughout the building.