Sidewalk Service

Sidewalk Services

Access the library through our Sidewalk Services.


Tuesday - Saturday

12pm - 5pm

Holds services are available by appointment only.

Returns require no appointment but must occur within the Sidewalk Service hours, or at select weekend book drop locations.

Sidewalk Service Locations:

Mitchell Park and Rinconada libraries only. See a map.

How holds services work


Make an appointment
Once you receive an email notification that a hold is ready for pickup, schedule your holds pickup time using our online appointment system.

Be sure to choose the branch indicated in the email notification you received.

Or call us at (650) 329-2436.


Proceed to the pickup station during your 30 minute appointment slot.

  • Mitchell Park main entrance (view map)
  • Rinconada south public entrance near the Embarcadero Room (view map)

Get in the social distancing line to receive your holds

Be sure to wear a face covering in accordance with City of Palo Alto Emergency Order.

Our staff will bring your holds to the pickup station.


Verify your holds with the staff

Check the receipt on your bag to ensure you have the correct items.

How return services work


Return your items to one of our in-person return stations.

  • Mitchell Park Sidewalk Services (view map)
  • Rinconada Sidewalk Services (view map)
  • Downtown book return slots (all day Saturday and Sundays only)
  • College Terrace book return slot (all day Saturday and Sundays only)

Your returns will be quarantined.

All materials returned to the library are quarantined for a minimum of 96 hours. They will not be handled by library staff or removed from your account until a minimum of 96 hours have passed.


Please allow at least seven days for materials to be cleared from your library account.


Overdue fines are not incurred at this time.
We appreciate your patience.

Sidewalk Service Locations

Mitchell Park

Mitchell Park Sidewalk Services are located at the main entrance.


Rinconada Sidewalk Services are located at the south public entrance near the Embarcadero Room.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Log in to check your account dashboard for hold information. You may receive an email notice when this happens (this depends on your account settings).

    In some cases your email provider may filter out these messages as spam, please check your settings before contacting us for help.
    Following this notification, reserve a pickup time and we'll send a confirmation message to let you know it's ready.
  • Several library locations are closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic or have modified their schedule. Book-drops are also closed. Please refer to our Sidewalk Service page for the most up to date information.

  • Customers may have up to 30 total holds. These holds do not include unfulfilled requests waiting on your holds shelf.

  • Yes. If you are concerned that a hold will become available while you are busy or away, you can place pause the hold. Pausing retains your place in line until you un-pause the hold. This features is useful if you have items on hold and go on vacation, or already have things checked out you have not finished yet.

    To pause a single hold

    • Log in to your account
    • Go to your On Hold page. 
    • Find the title you want to pause. 
    • Click the Pause button below the item.
  • During the Pandemic Closure some expanded access to streaming content and eBooks is being provided.

    However, temporary online-only cards available through our online registration form do not provide compete access to everything we offer.

    For complete access a permanent card is required. See our FAQ, How do I get a library card, for details.

    Read more on the expanded access during our closure.

  • Read our quick start guide and contact eLibrary if your need extra help.

  • LINK+ services are currently available.

    For picking up and returning LINK+ items, please follow the regular procedures for non-LINK+ items as detailed on the Sidewalk Service page.

    Like all other returns, LINK+ items are quarantined after return before being forwarded to the loaning institution.

    Contact the library for any issues with account or fines related to Link+ at (650) 838-2977.

  • At this time meeting rooms and space reservations are unavailable.

  • Physical Items can be renewed up to three times as long as there are no hold requests on particular items. Renewals for digital items vary by platform. Please see the eLibrary service providers help documentation for more information.

  • To begin, fill out the online registration form.

    This will give you access to limited online resources which our content providers have extended to temporary card holders during the emergency.Learn more about the expanded access for new card holders.

    Once registered, you can receive a permanent library card through in-person verification of California residence at our Sidewalk Services. Be prepared to provide ID and proof of your current California address when you arrive. There is no cost to get a library card.

    At this time, Palo Alto residents have the option of providing these documents virtually by calling the eLibrary line: (650) 838-2977.

Still have questions?

Call us at (650) 329-2436

Back to Top