Port Hope Public Library - Port Hope Branch

Library Services

Library Services

Library Takeout Pickup Service Information and FAQs - January 2022

In times of uncertainty, books can provide a safe haven where our spirits can be lifted up and our imaginations can roam freely.  To get books into the hands of our community’s readers, Port Hope Public Library provides a pickup service for its members in the Mary J. Benson Branch parking lot at 31 Queen Street.

It only takes 3 steps:

  1. Place your order online at www.porthopepubliclibrary.ca or call  905 885 4712 and choose '0' to speak to a staff member
  2. Library staff will fill your order and call or email you when the materials are ready for pickup
  3. Come to the library parking lot to pick up your items during the designated pickup hours

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to borrow items at this time?

We are taking precautions to ensure that materials on our shelves and those that are returned to us are safe to be handled by members of the public.  Any returned items are cleaned, disinfected, checked in and made available for borrowing again.

Pickups are done without you leaving your vehicle but we ask that you wear your mask during any interactions with staff.  We ask you respect physical distancing and wear a mask when biking or walking to use this service.  If need be please wait at a distance of 2 metres from Library staff or other members of the public.

Do not use this service if you feel unwell, or if any member of your household is sick or in isolation.

What can I borrow?

You can borrow any items currently in the library – books, DVDs, audiobooks, magazines, etc. (Boardbooks are not being circulated.)  Search the catalogue to see if the items you want are in: Port Hope Public Library catalogue

What if I don’t know exactly what I want to order?

Call the library so you can give us a general idea of what you like to read.  Staff will then pick out a selection of titles that you will hopefully enjoy.

How do I place an order?

There are two ways:  online or by phone.  For each, you will need to know your library card number and PIN (the last 4 digits of your phone number).

Online – The easiest way to place an order is to visit the library’s catalogue, find the items, and click the ‘Place Hold’ button beside each one you want. You will have to be registered on the new Library catalogue to complete your request.

Please take note: If you are requesting a certain DVD in a series or a specific issue of a magazine click on Place Hold icon to open the complete record. You can then easily choose a DVD part or an issue of a magazine.

Telephone – Call 905 885 4712 to speak to a Library staff person and have your Library card on hand.

Can I order items if I don’t have a library card?

You have to be a member to borrow material.  During this period if you are unable to visit the Library in-person new or renewed memberships are being provided to residents of the Municipality of Port Hope by email. Send your name and phone number to ahouston@phpl.ca with your request for a card. Otherwise visit the Library with appropriate ID and sign up for a membership.

How many items can I, or my family, borrow?

Because we don’t want you to make too many trips to the library, you can place holds on up to 20 items per library card. DVDs and bestsellers (7 day loans) are limited to 10 items per library card.

We encourage you to designate one person per household to pick up material for everyone.  For example, if 2 adults and 3 children all order material on their library cards, only 1 adult comes to the library to pick up the 5 bags of material. 

Can I ask someone else to pickup my items?

You can have a family member, friend or neighbour pickup your material.

How long will it take before I can pickup my order?

We will try to fill your order as quickly as possible, but it may take a couple of days depending on how many people use this service.  Also, it takes time for staff to gather and pack your items, particularly when we have to select items based on your preferences instead of a list of specific titles.  Please be patient!

How often can I borrow items?

We ask that, at most, you place an order every week.  We don’t want you to make too many trips to the Library, and we want to ensure we can fill as many orders as possible as quickly as possible.

How long can I borrow the items?

Depending on the situation at that time, we may extend the due dates but a loan period of three weeks for books, CDs and talking books and 7 days for bestsellers and DVDs are the usual time limits. Remember that items not returned by the due date will be automatically renewed for you.

What happens when I pickup the material?

Pickup will take place at the Mary J. Benson Branch parking lot from the designated spots.  Be aware that people also use the parking lot to return material in the book drop.  Wait at least 2 metres back from the person ahead of you until they have left.

  1. If no one is on duty when you arrive, phone the number posted, give your name and the number of your parking spot. 
  2. Wait in your vehicle and open the trunk or respect physical distancing and wear a mask when walking or biking.
  3. A Library staff person will bring your items and place them in the open trunk, close the lid and wave you on your way. Walkers and bikers can collect their items from the designated table when staff have retreated to 6 feet back.

Can I return my items?

Yes, the book drop is always open.  If you do want to return items, do it at the same time as you pickup your order.  In that case, return the items first through the book drop and then return to your vehicle and call for your pickup.  Safety protocols require that staff do not handle returned material for three days.

What happens if I forget and don’t pick up my items?

We hold items for you for one week. When your hold expires the items will be removed from your account and returned to the shelves so someone else can borrow them. The $1 charge for not picking up a hold would then apply.

Ask us.

If you have questions, we’ll find the answers.

One of the Library’s goals is to help you find the information you need in the most efficient way possible. Whether your question is about fact or fiction, your neighbourhood or the global village, ancient history or current events, we’ll help you find the answer using all the resources we have or we’ll refer you to the person who does have the answer.

Begin your quest for knowledge by contacting the Library

  • in person, at either of our branches
  • by telephone at 905.885.4712
  • by email

Service to Nursing and Retirement Homes

The Library can offer some services to nursing homes and retirement homes. For further information please contact 905.885.4712 or email.

Interlibrary Loans

The Library is part of the province-wide interlibrary loan system.

Your access to information extends far beyond the walls of our two Library branches. We offer patrons an interlibrary loan system that includes public and academic libraries, and provincial and national archives.

There will now be direct increased costs affecting your public library’s budget with borrowing and lending using Canada Post. Please be advised that item selection and delivery times may differ from previous service levels.

We would like to remind patrons of some interlibrary loan parameters:

  • maximum of 5 interlibrary loan requests at one time
  • $5 charge for any interloans borrowed but not picked up
  • due dates on interlibrary loan items cannot be renewed

Book Club Requests

The Library offers a title request service for local book clubs.

The Library is able to order multiple copies of books for book clubs that have registered for this service. For further information, please contact the Library at 905.885.4712 or email for registration details.

Centre for Equitable Library Access Collection (CELA)

Centre for Equitable Library Access Collection (CELA) LogoPort Hope Public Library offers access to a collection of over 230,000 books, magazines, newspapers and described videos in a choice of formats for people with a print disability.

  • Lots of choices including current bestsellers, award-winners, and classics
  • Fiction, non-fiction, self-help, business and more
  • Books for kids, teens, and adults
  • Books in audio, braille or accessible e-book formats
  • Download books or receive home delivery by mail


Access to the CELA collection is available to people who are unable to read conventional print due to a disability, which includes:

  • Learning disability: an impairment relating to comprehension
  • Physical disability: the inability to hold or manipulate a book
  • Visual disability: severe or total impairment of sight or the inability to focus or move one's eyes

How to sign up for CELA

Contact the Library to begin the registration process for access to CELA services. Access to the collection is offered in a number of ways:

  • Download books to your computer or mobile device, such as an iPhone
  • Download books to a DAISY player over a wireless connection without using a computer
  • Receive audio CDs, Braille or described movies through your local branch or by mail directly to your home

The CELA website can be found at: www.celalibrary.ca