New pickup service coming to the Easton Branch beginning June 8th and to the St. Michaels Branch beginning June 15th.
Q: What materials can I pick up through the Books To Go service?
A: Books, audiobooks, and DVDs can all be requested for pickup through this new service. However, at this time, materials cannot be transported between library branches. This means that we will only be able to supply materials that are available on the shelf at the Talbot County Free Library branch you select for pickup when placing your hold. We will be able to fill up to 5 holds at a time per individual library account.
If you wish to check out a book that is listed as available in an Eastern Shore library branch outside of Talbot County (any branch in our catalog other than Easton or St. Michaels) and you are willing to travel to that branch for pickup, we recommend visiting that library's website and/or contacting that library to learn what options may be available to you. Your Talbot County Free Library card can be used at other shore libraries, but whether they are offering a pickup service at all and how that service works may not match what's being offered in Talbot County.
Q: How can I request materials for Books To Go Pickup?
A: You can place hold requests online through the library's catalog, or by calling the library Monday - Thursday between 10 AM and 1 PM.
If you know what you are looking for, and are able to place holds for those materials using the online catalog, you may find this the quickest and easiest option, as there is a chance we may experience high call volume combined with reduced on site staffing due to social distancing precautions. For tips and tricks on using the online catalog to find what you're looking for, identifying whether it's on the shelf at your pickup location, and placing your own holds, please see the next question.
If you experience problems using the online catalog, or would like assistance identifying materials that meet your information needs or reading and viewing preferences and that are available for pickup at your preferred pickup location, please feel free to call and leave a message or speak with a staff member. We would be happy to assist you as quickly as we are able.
Q: What's the process for placing a hold online? And how can I tell what's available to fill holds at my pickup branch and what's not?
A: If you're looking for something specific, such as a particular title, author, or subject, you can search our catalog much like you normally would, but with a few minor changes to help identify those titles available at your pickup location. Start at the Talbot County Free Library website (tcfl.org). In the “Find” menu, click on “Easton Catalog” or “St. Michaels Catalog” depending on the branch at which you would prefer to pick up your holds. Enter your search term(s) and tap enter on the keyboard or click the search button. Once a list of search results appear, look on the left hand side of the page for checkboxes labeled “Available Now” and either “Easton Branch” or “St. Michaels Branch.” Check these checkboxes to limit search results to include only those items currently available at your preferred pickup branch. You can then scroll through the resulting list of titles to find one you would like to place on hold.
If you don't have a particular title or author in mind, and want to browse what's currently on the shelf, we've created a new Browse @ Home page where you can virtually explore what's on the physical shelves at your preferred pickup branch. Browsing options include the New Books shelf, the DVD collection, audiobooks, Large Print, fiction by genre, nonfiction by popular topics, and many formats in the children's and teens' areas. No fancy search techniques required, just click and scroll to find a title of interest.
Once you have identified a title you would like to place on hold, click on “Availability” or “Full Record” to confirm which branch or branches have copies, or to see more detailed information about the title. Once you're ready to place your hold and initiate the Books-to-Go process, click on “Place Request.” If you're not already logged into your account, you will be prompted to do so by entering the barcode number on the back of your library card and your password. If you don't know your password, click on “Forgot your password?” for help with logging in. After logging in, you will be taken to a page where you will be asked to confirm your request. Check that the pickup library identified in the dropdown box is correct, and click “Submit Request.” On the next page, you should find the message “Your request has been placed.”
Congratulations on placing a hold for pickup through the Books-to-Go service! You can repeat this process if you wish to place additional requests. Up to 5 hold requests can be filled at a time per library account.
Please remember to log out of your account when you finish placing requests, particularly if you're using a shared computer.
Q: I tried to place a hold online, but it said “Requests are not permitted for this title. Contact the library for assistance.” What went wrong? How can I get that book?
A: There are a few possible reasons you might see this message, but the most likely one at this time, is that the branch you selected as your pickup location doesn't own a copy of the title you're requesting. Under normal circumstances, this wouldn't be a problem because a copy could be transported from another branch to fill your hold. Unfortunately, because items are not being transported between library branches at this time, your hold request cannot be filled at the location you selected. If you would be interested in travelling to another library that does own the item for pickup, we recommend going to that library's website to find out whether they are offering a pickup service, and following their process to place a hold for pickup there. Your Talbot County Free Library card should also be valid at the other Counties' public libraries on the Eastern shore.
Q: What happens after my hold request is placed?
A: The items that can be found on the shelf at your pickup branch will be pulled and set aside for you in as timely a manner as we are able. Once your items are ready, you will either receive a phone call from the library in which we will notify you that your items are ready and work with you to schedule a specific pickup date and time, OR you will receive an email letting you know that your items are ready, and inviting you to contact the library within the next 3 days to schedule a pickup date and time. Please DO NOT arrive at the library for pickup without a scheduled pickup time. We are only able to offer pickup by appointment at this time.
Pickup Days and Windows are as follows:
Monday, Morning: 10 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and Afternoon/Evening: 3:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, Morning: 10 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and Afternoon: 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
Wednesday, Morning: 10 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and Afternoon: 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
Thursday, Morning: 10 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and Afternoon/Evening: 3:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
Friday, Morning: 10 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and Afternoon: 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
If, after scheduling a pickup time, you discover that you will be unable to pick up your books at that time, please notify us as soon as possible to reschedule. Unless you contact us to request otherwise, books that are not picked up during a scheduled pickup time will be quarantined and returned to the collection so they can be made available to other patrons. If you wish to place a new hold on the item in the future you can do so, but there may be a longer wait, depending on the status of the item at that time.
Q: What does the actual pickup process look like? What safety precautions will the library be taking? What precautions can I take?
A: Your materials will be bagged, stapled closed, and labeled with your name. During your pre-arranged pickup window, your bag of items will be available on a cart in the main entranceway to the building. We are asking patrons to wear masks, observe social distancing guidelines, touch only their own bag of books, and be patient with others who may be present at the same time to pick up materials.
Library materials are being quarantined for a minimum of 5 days after they are returned to the library through our book drops, before being checked in or made available to other patrons. After this quarantine period, library staff will wear masks and gloves when handling materials, to minimize the chances of contaminating those materials before you're able to pick them up.
Because household cleaners can cause damage to books and other materials, we ask that you please do not attempt to clean or sanitize the library materials you check out. If, despite our precautions, you remain concerned, a second quarantine period in your home before use could be a viable option that does not risk damage to the materials, or you can take advantage of our downloadable materials, which offer a truly contactless check out option for books, audiobooks, movies and music. Thank you for helping to preserve our materials for ongoing use!
Q: What should I do with library materials once I'm done with them?
A: The Easton and St. Michaels branches are accepting returns through our book drops only. If possible, please return items to the book drop at the branch you borrowed them from. This will help us continue to make those materials available to others, rather than waiting to transfer them back to their home branch. To prevent damage, WiFi Hotspots and Chromebooks should not be returned through the book drops. Their due dates have been extended.