Library FAQ

Who can I email or call if I have questions?

  • Call (650) 522-7800.  Leave a voicemail and your call will be returned.
  • Call (650) 522-7818 for live reference assistance.  
    Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10:00 AM-4:00 PM
  • Email:

We will respond to inquires as soon as possible.

What if my holds are ready for pick up? 

Anyone with a Peninsula Library System card can pick up hold items during the lobby holds pickup hours listed below.  No appointment is required.  

Main Library:

  • Monday: 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 2:00 PM - 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
  • Thursday: 2:00 PM - 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Hillsdale Library:

  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
  • Friday: 2:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Marina Library:

  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
  • Thursday: 2:00 PM - 6:00 PM

What library resources can I access from home?   

The San Mateo City Library has access to many eBooks, eAudiobooks, streaming movies, and digital magazines that are available 24/7 with a library card.  Check out our eLibrary resources for eLearning materials, including research databases, language learning, career and test preparation, financial information, professional development and more, all from your home.  A lobby holds pickup service is available at Main, Hillsdale, and Marina Libraries. 

When can I return my borrowed items?

Checked out library items can be returned at the Main Library using the sidewalk book return box during these hours: Monday-Friday, 10:00 AM-5:55 PM, Saturday 10:00 AM-5:00 PM.  At the Hillsdale Library checked out items can be returned Wednesday & Friday 10:00 AM-5:00 PM.  At the Marina Library checked out items can be returned Tuesday & Thursday 10:00 AM-5:00 PM. The library quarantines returned items for 48 hours before they are checked in, re-shelved, or returned to their home library. There may be a delay in your items being cleared from your account. No overdue fines will be accrued during that time.

What if my items were due during the closure?  Will I accrue late fees?

Overdue fees will not be incurred for items due.  eBook due dates are not affected.

Can I use Link+ (Interlibrary Loan)?  How should I return my LINK+ items?  

Link+ service has resumed at all three San Mateo Public Library locations.  Link+ materials should be returned to the location where they were originally checked out.  Link+ items may be returned through the manual book drops during book drop open hours.

Are hotspots and Chromebooks available for checkout?

Hotspots and Chromebooks are available to borrow for San Mateo Public Library cardholders (your card must begin with “29047”). Call (650) 522-7833 to reserve a device.  The loan period for MiFi hotspots and Chromebooks is 21 days with no renewals. The overdue charge is $1.00 a day per item. 

Can I donate materials to the library?

Donations are not being accepted at this time.

May I apply for a library card online? 

San Mateo residents may apply for a temporary card using the online application form.  Please note, all temporary cards will expire in 90 days and are valid for only select resources.  Visit any San Mateo Public Library location during lobby holds pickup hours to reactivate your library card with full borrowing privileges.

My library card is about to expire.  How can I renew it? 

Library cards that will expire in the next few months will have a new expiration date of December 31, 2021.