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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the focus of your collection?
The Library seeks to reflect the full range of the Jewish experience, from religion to history to literature and art. Virtually any Jewish-related topic can be found in the Library.

How do I search your catalog?
You can search the Library’s print collection here and the digital collection here.

How do I get a login ID and password?
If you have not previously borrowed items from the Jewish Community Library, fill out this application for borrowing privileges to receive access to the Library’s print and digital collections (you must be a Bay Area resident).

How do I change my password?
You can do so here. Or contact the Library, and we’ll help you.

How do I put a reserve hold on something in your library? How will I know when it’s available for me to check out?
When you are logged into your account, you can place a hold on any circulating item. You will subsequently receive an email message letting you know when the item is available to pick up.

How can I check out and read eBooks and audiobooks?
Instructions can be found here.

What are the fines for overdue materials?
The Library no longer charges fines. However, we expect materials to be returned according to their due dates. Patrons will be charged for the replacement cost of long overdue materials.

How long can I keep a book after I borrow it?
Print materials, DVDs, and CDs circulate for four weeks and may be renewed for an additional four-week period if nobody has placed a hold on them. Digital materials typically expire after 21 days. They automatically return themselves to the digital library on their due dates, although you can return them early. See instructions for borrowing eBooks and audiobooks.

How do I return my materials?
Print materials can be brought to the main branch in San Francisco during hours of operation, and may be returned anytime in our metal drop box just outside the pedestrian entrance gate at 1835 EllisStreet. Materials can be brought to the Pushcart branch at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto during hours of operation or left at the Fitness Center front desk during off-hours. Materials can also be sent by mail to Jewish Community Library, 1835 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA 94115.

It’s difficult to find parking in San Francisco. Where is the best place to park to visit your library?
We offer free onsite parking in our secure garage. The garage is located at the equivalent of 1227 Pierce Street, between Ellis and Eddy Streets (click here for Google Map).

I’m part of a book group. Can I get multiple copies of a book from your library?
Yes. Learn about our Book Club in a Box program here.

 I’m downsizing my home and have dozens of wonderful Jewish books I’d like to donate. Would the Library like to have them?
The Library generally does not take donations of books. You can find our policy on book donations here.

How do I recommend a book for the Library’s collection?
The best way is to log in to the catalog/circulation system and click here. You can also write to us at

Do you offer interlibrary loan?
The Library does not have any interlibrary loan agreements.

Are your events and speaker programs held in person or on Zoom?
Both. You can see our upcoming events listed here. They are labeled as in-person or virtual.

Is it possible to see recordings of past programs?
It generally depends on the willingness of presenters to have the recordings of their events made public. You can see a selection of some publicly available recordings here. If there is a particular one you are looking for that you do not see, you can also write us at to inquire whether a recording is available.

I love your library. How do I contribute to and support the Jewish Community Library?
The Library is funded primarily by donations from community members, and we welcome your financial support. Please donate to the Friends of the Jewish Community Library, a separate 501(c)(3) whose sole purpose is to support the Library.