Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When will I be able to access Libraries indoors?

Express indoor browsing, holds pick-up, self check-out & computer use begins at three locations on the following dates:

North: May 28
West: June 7
Central: June 15
Tarea Hall Pittman South: June 22
Claremont: June 28

All indoor service hours are Monday-Saturday 2pm-6pm. If a patron requires outdoor pick-up of a hold during these hours at these locations, please alert staff at the front door.

Please continue to physically distance from others. Masks are required, even if you have been vaccinated. 

Outdoor Pickup of holds will continue at four locations:

Central: Mondays 12-6; Tuesday-Saturday 10-6
Claremont: Monday-Wednesday 10-6; Thursday 12-6; Friday-Saturday 10-6 (until June 28th and then Outdoor Pickup hours will be Monday-Saturday 10am-2pm)
Tarea Hall Pittman South: Monday-Saturday 10-2
Tool Lending Library: Monday &Tuesday 10-6; Wednesday & Thursday 12-6; Friday & Saturday 10-6

North will resume Outdoor Pickup hours on June 28.

West will resume Outdoor Pickup hours soon. Exact date TBD.

Please note:

Staff teams are continuing to make plans for providing more indoor access to our locations. The teams are working in coordination with the City of Berkeley, Labor Unions and Public Health. Additional services will be announced via the "Library Happenings" e-newsletter, on social media and here on

How does Outside Pick-up work?

Patrons can place new holds from the Library's catalog or may do so with the help of Library staff via phone or email. No appointment is necessary.

Outside Pickup is held in the doorway entrances of Libraries with strict safety protocols in place. To ensure safe social distancing from the book slot at Tarea Hall Pittman South, Outside Pickup is offered from the Tool Lending Library side of the building.

For quick service, please have your library card ready. 

Face coverings are required for service as is 6 feet of social distancing between patrons.

Receipts cannot be issued for returned materials at this time. All materials, including Link+ items, are quarantined for at least 24 hours before being checked in. As a result they will remain on patrons' accounts for that time. You may check the status of your account from the Library catalog. For Link+, check your account here. Please call the Library during business hours if you have any questions about your account status.

Outdoor Pickup Steps

Is the Tool Lending Library Open?

Yes, and check-out times have been extended to 7 days for all materials!

Access to tools, including the new Culinary Tools, are available by reservation only through the Library's new Tool Catalog or via phone by calling (510) 981-6101.

If you need a tool immediately, please call (510) 981-6101 to inquire about availability and make a reservation. If the item is not immediately available, you will receive a hold notice when it is ready for you. Most patrons choose to receive hold notices via email. If calling in, let the Tool Lending Specialist know how you prefer to be notified. Holds must be picked up within 3 days.

Please return tools during open hours. Do not place tools in the book drop returns or leave tools outside the Library when it is closed.

See the list of tools in the collection here.

How will I be informed of any changes to Library services during Covid-19?

Updates will be posted on the Library website. Also, patrons can call 510.981.6100 during Central hours to speak with staff.

For general updates monthly, subscribe to the Library Happenings newsletter.

How do I know if I have items on hold ready for pick-up?

You will receive a courtesy notice, generally by email, when a hold is ready for outside pickup. If you are unsure whether or not an item is ready for pickup, please check your Library account

I know how to use the catalog, but I just don't know what I want. Can you help me?


The Library is now offering a Personalized Book Picks service. Based on the interests you indicate, library staff will identify 3-6 books for you and will place them on hold. Your personalized book picks will be placed on hold in your account within one week after you submit the form. Expect an email when the materials are ready, and you will have two weeks to pick them up at the Berkeley Public Library location of your choosing. 

I have a reference question to ask or a question about my account. Can I ask you?


Please call (510) 981-6100 during Central Outdoor Pickup hours to speak directly to librarians and library staff. If email is preferable, fill out the "Contact Us."

Are books quarantined? 

Yes, all returned materials are quarantined for at least 24 hours.