Contactless Holds Pickup

The library building is now open! 

This page is for archival purposes only.

This page is outdated and only exists as part of our archive about the library’s services during the 2020 – 2021 Coronavirus Pandemic. Find out about local information during the pandemic. For current services, please visit the rest of our website or give us a call at (508) 693-9433.


We are deeply committed to the safety of our patrons and our entire community. These are challenging times and the staff at OBPL is ready to accept this new challenge to help the community that relies on us. Through contactless holds pickup, we hope that the library can be a way for the Oak Bluffs and island community to find some comfort by curling up with a new book from our library.

How does Contactless Holds Pickup Work?

Placing Holds

Placing holds is as easy as it’s ever been! There are four fast and easy ways to order library materials:

  • Go online through the CLAMS catalog (*see tips below)
  • Download and use the new Capira CLAMS app on your mobile device (Google Play, Apple App Store)
  • Call (508) 693-9433 and leave a message with your request. Make sure you leave your full name and/or library card number.
  • Email with your request. Make sure you include your full name and/or library card number.

When you call or email us, you can request specific titles or even a “Librarian Special.” You can ask for some children’s books on tigers, the latest in a cozy mystery series, or even reading recommendations for someone who enjoys Swedish crime noir. We can also pull titles from our special collections, like the African American collection. We’ll do our best to fulfill the request with what we have on our shelves and call you when your “special” is ready for pickup.

Available Materials

We can only pull library materials that you’ve put on hold in advance. We cannot fill walk-up requests at this time. We look forward to having you return to the library to browse or ask for materials on the spot, but that will come later.

Both our on-island and off-island library delivery services have resumed. Patrons may now order library materials from any CLAMS library. Please note that delivery of material takes longer than usual due to the quarantining measures that all libraries have in place. Your patience is appreciated.

We will begin fulfilling holds for books, audiobooks, DVDs, blu-rays, video games, playaways, and wifi hotspots only. Other items such as our summer collection (lawn games, fishing poles, etc.), board games, and some electronic equipment are not currently available.

Hold Notification & Pickup

We will email you when your hold is ready. If you don’t have an email address, we will call you. We will set up a day for pick up at the library so that we can prepare your hold prior to your arrival.

Hold pickup will be available from 12pm-4pm Tuesday through Friday and 10am-1pm on Saturday.

Same day holds must be placed by 10am.

Everyone will be asked for photo ID.

Hold pickup location is by the back parking lot (east) entrance of the library building. The hold pickup window is located to the left of the entrance.

Patrons who are coming to pick up materials must wear a mask and practice appropriate social distancing. Signs will direct patrons to the waiting / pickup point.

Please wait on the sidewalk until the porch is clear of any other patrons.

When you arrive at the pickup window, announce your arrival. Staff will ask for you to show a photo ID through the window. Staff will get your bag of material(s), and leave it on a table located just outside the window for you. You will not have contact with staff – your materials will already be checked out and your receipt will be with your bag.

If you are physically unable to walk to the library’s entrance, please bring or send someone who can do it for you.

If you send someone else to pick up your holds, you must notify the library prior to their arrival.

We miss seeing and catching up with you, but the pickup window isn’t an appropriate place for us to have extended conversations. We have more availability to speak to you on the phone to answer questions. Hopefully someday soon we can catch up properly!

Returning Library Materials

If you have materials to return, please use the exterior book drops located on either side of the building. We have five exterior book drops and will be checking them each morning.

Please do not return library materials at the hold pickup table. We treat the return of library material seriously and must ensure proper safety protocols when handling returns. Staff will direct you to return them to the book drops. We make exceptions for the return of oversized materials, equipment checked out prior to the library closure, and other special devices such as hotspots.

All returned materials will be quarantined for 7 days before they are available to the community. That means it will take up to 10 days for materials you have returned to be removed from your account.

We have been fine free since January 2020, so you will not incur late fees now or ever.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will I know my hold items are ready for pickup?

Find out...

We will call you when your items are ready.

To support social distancing efforts, the library is operating with very limited staff. Wait times for holds placed online are currently longer than usual. Thanks for your patience.

Do I need a library card?

Find out...

Yes, patrons must have a CLAMS card to use hold pickup. If you do not have a regular library card, we can create one for you over the phone. Call the library at 508-693-9433. After verifying your identity with a photo ID at the door, our staff will place your new library card in the bag with your materials.

Please note that temporary e-cards can only be used for online services.

What if I have mobility issues and cannot leave my vehicle?

Find out...

If a patron experiences mobility issues, we can provide an accommodation such as placing bagged items on the hood or in the trunk of your vehicle. Please request this when you call.

Please note that temporary e-cards can only be used for online services.

What materials are available for pickup?

Find out...

All media materials currently on the shelf are available, including books, DVDs, etc. Our “library of things” such as board games, summer equipment, etc. are not currently available.

Can you look for specific items or provide reading suggestions?

Find out...

Yes! Call us at 508-693-9433 or email for reading suggestions.

What if I have fines or I’m over the checkout limit?

Find out...

We no longer charge late fines, however replacement fees for lost books will be waived during the pandemic response. If you are over the checkout limit, please call us to see if we can make accommodations.

Can I place a hold via telephone?

Find out...

Yes, please call 508-693-9433 to place your requests.

What are you doing to protect the safety of patrons and library staff?

Find out...

The contactless pickup model we are using provides maximum social distancing for the safety of our patrons and our staff. Staff will use eitehr hand sanitizer or gloves and cloth face coverings in accordance with the town’s workplace safety policy and CDC guidelines.

All physical materials will be quarantined for a minimum of 3 days prior to their return to the collection.

Patrons and staff should not approach one another and respect the need for social distancing. This may feel uncomfortable, but is necessary to provide a safe, contactless pickup service. If you notice patrons at the pickup window, please remain in your vehicle or at the designated waiting area on the sidewalk until the previous patron has departed the patio.

Why are you using bags for pickup items?

Find out...

Bags are a temporary measure to protect patron privacy, protect physical materials, and limit unnecessary contact. Bags help separate materials to avoid the need to sort through items.

More Questions?

We understand that things are changing from week to week, so we’re keeping you informed through a Current Library Services page dedicated to what services are currently available and what will wait until later phases.

Still have questions? We’re always here to help! Please call us at (508) 693-9433 or email with your inquiries or special requests.