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.

How long will the library be closed?

An opening date for all San Mateo City Libraries has yet to be determined.  We will be following guidance from the San Mateo County Health Department on when it is safe to open the libraries to the public.  All programs, events, and meeting room reservations have been canceled.

What library resources can I access while library locations are closed?   

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 curbside holds pickup service is available by appointment at the Main Library.  Curbside holds will be available by appointment at Hillsdale and Marina branch libraries beginning August 18 and August 19, 2020.

Can I return my borrowed items while the library is closed?

Checked out library items can be returned at the Main Library using the manual book drop during these hours: Monday-Friday, 10:00 AM-5:55 PM, Saturday 10:00 AM-5:00 PM.  Beginning August 18 and August 19, 2020 checked out items can be returned at the Hillsdale and Marina branch libraries during these hours:  Hillsdale: Wednesday & Friday: 10:00 AM-5:00 PM;  Marina: Tuesday & Thursday 10:00 AM-5:00 PM. The library quarantines returned items for 96 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 are due during the closure?  Will I accrue late fees?

No one will be fined during this closure.  eBook due dates are not affected by the library building closures.

Can I use Link+ (Interlibrary Loan)?  Should I return my LINK+ items during the current library closure?  

Starting August 18, Link+ service will resume at all three San Mateo Public Library locations.  Link+ materials can be returned during curbside pickup hours to the location where they were originally checked out.  Link+ items may be returned through the manual book drops.

Can I donate materials to the library while the library is closed?

Donations are not being accepted at this time.

What if my holds are ready for pick up? 

Anyone with a Peninsula Library System card can make an appointment for curbside holds pickup service at the Main Library at 55 W. Third Avenue.  This service is a contactless and convenient way to access books and other materials while our library buildings remain closed to the public.  Curbside holds pickup by appointment for the Hillsdale and Marina branch libraries will begin August 18 and August 19, 2020.

May I apply for a library card online? 

During the library’s closure, 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 upon our reopening 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 during the closure period have a new expiration date of September 30, 2020.