By Cherise T.

Do you miss browsing our library shelves? Settling into a cozy chair to explore a stack of books and deciding which to check out and take home? Filling your bag with books by new authors, DVDs for that sitcom your daughter thought you’d love, CDs by a band you’ve been hearing on the radio? If so, Howard County Library System’s Bundle Bags will bring you joy, information, and entertainment. Especially with the colder weather setting in, a bag of library materials prepared just for you will brighten the day. Think about snuggling under a blanket with a new book, immersing in a compelling period drama, laughing at a romantic comedy or dancing to energizing music. Whether you want to challenge yourself and learn to knit in time for holiday gift giving or bake a great pie using recipes from a gorgeous cookbook, there’s a Bundle Bag for you. 

Save time assisting your student with a homework assignment by requesting a Bundle Bag. Just imagine, a bag filled with books about trucks, colors, and shapes. Or maybe your child is ready to add chapter books to his reading journey. Our library staff is skilled in selecting children’s and teen books ranging from educational to inspirational, from sports to fantasy to classics. The next time a family member complains of running out of things to read or watch, be reassured that help is on the way. 

Destress throughout your daily activities with some holiday music. We’ve got a Bundle Bag for that. Always wanted to try a romance novel? We’ve got a Bundle Bag for that. Relax into an audiobook about your favorite movie star or escape with a thrilling mystery. Explore true crime accounts. Check out a British television series. With a bag filled with materials, you may just find your next favorite book or movie.  

Easily complete the form for a Bundle Bag on our website. There are five age categories ranging from infant to adult. Request books or CDs/DVDs, or both. For each category requested, a library research staff member selects six items. Choose up to five categories for a total of 30 items. After selecting the bundle contents, complete the form by entering a pickup date and time as early as the second library business day and up to two weeks from the date of form submission. Bags may be picked up at any of our six branches. With one trip to the library for contactless pickup, bring home everything from board books for your grandson to Oscar-winning films for you.  

Cherise Tasker is an Adult Instructor and Research Specialist at the Central Branch. When not immersed in literary fiction, Cherise can be found singing along to musical theater soundtracks. 

Bundle Up

Contactless Pickup Begins Today!

A library staff member, wearing a face covering, places blue bags on a table with alphabetic signs, A-F and G-L.

Welcome back to the Library! We are so happy to be able to lend physical items to you again. Our electronic resources have been invaluable during our collective quarantine and our statistics show it, but we know you are interested in our tangible items, too.

You can now return the materials you have had since March (if not earlier) and borrow new books, movies, Playaways, tools, art, and more. All six branches of HCLS are open for contactless pickup, Mon-Sat*, 10 am – 6 pm.

More than 300,000 items were borrowed before HCLS closed, and customers have placed requests for more than 52,000 items during the closure. All items retrieved from book drops – and returned during contactless pickup – will be quarantined for 72 hours. HCLS staff returned to branches more than a week ago, preparing to begin this new service.

HCLS President & CEO Tonya Aikens comments, “The health, safety, and well-being of our staff and customers remains top priority. Guidance from health officials and the CDC continues to inform our plans. Decisions about how we progress to future phases will depend on the most current health and safety guidelines.”

County Executive Calvin Ball said, “The HCLS team has been instrumental in connecting residents with online resources throughout this pandemic, and we’re thrilled they have found a safe way to provide more access to our residents with contactless pickup.”

So, how does it work? The basics are below, but all the details and FAQs are available here.

1. Place items on hold.

Search the Library’s catalog for titles of interest. To request items from the art collection, please call Central Branch at 410.313.7800, or the DIY collection, please call Elkridge Branch at 410.313.5077.

Use your HCLS-registered library card or A+ student account (for HCPSS students) and PIN to log in and place requests, selecting your preferred pickup location.

You may also make requests by phone by calling your HCLS branch during business hours (10 am – 6 pm, Monday – Saturday).

2. Wait for notification, then reserve a pickup day and time.

You will receive a notice when your holds are available.

Then, fill out the Contactless Holds Pickup Request form online or call your pickup branch to make an appointment.

3. At the scheduled date and time, pick up your holds at the designated HCLS location.

Prior to your appointment, HCLS staff will locate your items, check them out to your account, and bag them. The bag will be labeled with your name and placed on a table in the lobby of the pickup branch.

When you arrive, maintain at least 6 feet of social distance from others. Face coverings are required.

If you notice another customer in the lobby, please remain outside until the previous customer has departed.

Grab your bag and go – items have already been checked out to you. Your receipt will be in the bag.

We have missed you and are so pleased to be offer this service. We can’t wait to see you in person again soon!

*HCLS is closed on July 4, as well as five Fridays for furlough: July 3, 17, 31, and August 14 & 28.